This case study examines the unconventional management and union arrangements at AWE plc, where there are few explicit rules and regulations governing the structures and processes of partnership, and currently no formal partnership agreement.

AWE plc manages and operates the United Kingdom’s Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) on behalf of the Ministry of Defence. It employs 3600 members of staff in the maintenance of the country’s nuclear deterrent. Employees include scientists, engineers, skilled craftspeople and administrative staff involved in the concept and design, manufacture and assembly, service support, decommissioning and disposal of nuclear warheads.

Since 1999, AWE plc has driven an interesting bottom-up approach to the introduction of partnership ways of working, resulting in nearly 200 continuous improvement projects initiated directly by employees that have brought benefits for both the workforce and the wider organisation.

Interviews were conducted with managers, trade union representatives and shop floor operatives from facilities at two of AWE’s three sites in the Berkshire countryside.

To view the full case study click here.