Briggs Equipment Ltd Demonstrates ‘Best Practice’ on Working in Partnership with Unions to Reach an Agreement

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Company reaches agreement on changes to employee terms and conditions

Briggs Equipment, a leading materials handling service provider based in Cannock, Staffordshire has announced a new agreement with its trade union Unite, having engaged with its members to reach a mutually beneficial compromise.

With the threat of strike action from fuel tanker drivers still looming, as union members consider the latest proposals, and a possibility of BBC journalists striking during the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations, it is more important than ever for managers to listen to unions and work with them to reach an agreement.

Chief Executive of Briggs Equipment and business turnaround expert Richard Close has credited the company’s recent profits to its commitment to employee engagement, and focus on customer service. In order to remain competitive and productive and ensure Briggs Equipment continues to exceed expectations, the management team needed to change engineers’ working conditions. This centred on a number of terms and conditions including working hours, pay and crucially, whether engineers’ travel time was incorporated into personal or work hours.

The strategy from Briggs Equipment’s management team was to ensure open communication channels, honesty, and most importantly, to listen to what the union had to say. By constructively engaging with union representatives, an agreement was reached that pleased both sides and will lead to greater efficiency, productivity and therefore stronger commercial performance.

Richard Close, who has spearheaded the business transformation of a number of companies, including Briggs Equipment, comments: “In a traditional business such as Briggs Equipment, it is very difficult to make changes to working practices without experiencing some resistance, but it was essential to amend our engineers’ terms and conditions to ensure company progress. By working in partnership with our union we were able to reach a workable compromise that suited both sides and can be implemented quickly.

“Many independent, profit-making business leaders will consider unions as a necessary evil, but working in partnership with union leaders and viewing compromise as a goal will lead to mutual trust and respect with employees, ensuring positive working relationships going forwards. Many organisations at the moment are risking the threat of strike action because they are not listening to their unions and their members, and this leads to misunderstandings and disagreements. I am a passionate advocate of open communication channels as a means to reaching mutual agreement, and this philosophy has led to a positive outcome for both staff and management.”

About Richard Close

Richard Close, is one of the UK’s most experienced international business leaders, with more than 30 years’ experience turning around the fortunes of businesses. Currently working as the chief executive of Briggs Equipment, the UK’s leading independent service provider and materials handling equipment supplier, Richard has transformed four loss making businesses into multi-million pound profit making organisations.
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Victoria Harris