The role of trade unions in promoting wellbeing

Conway, David and Williams, Chris (2021). The role of trade unions in promoting wellbeing. In: Mental Health and Wellbeing Conference, 1-2 Dec 2021, The Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom.


Flavin, Pacek and Radcliff (2010) demonstrated that trade unions play a key role in enhancing ‘subjective well-being’. This bears out direct and anecdotal evidence that workplaces where there is a tradition of solidarity, and active support networks, are generally happier. Unions facilitate the creation of social capital. There are some indications that this effect spreads beyond members to non members also. Locally, the OU’s campus unions are able to act as a useful first port of call for staff who have work-related problems which they do not feel able to raise directly with the institution.

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