Facilities Agreement*


Facilities Agreement pdf(64 kb)



Go to a specific section:

1. Introduction

2. Scope of this Agreement

3. General Principles

4. Time Off

5. Procedure for Requesting Time Off

6. Records

7. Executive and Branch Meetings

8. Accommodation and Equipment

9. Information

10. Annual Budget

11. Review and Termination



1. Introduction

All parties to this Agreement support the principle of harmonious employee relations and De Montfort University agrees to make reasonable facilities and time off for trade union duties available, in accordance with this Agreement, to enable official and appropriately elected University UNISON representatives to fulfil their role.


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2. Scope of this Agreement

This Agreement should be followed in conjunction with the Recognition and Procedure Agreement between De Montfort University and UNISON, although it should be noted these are separate agreements.

This Collective Agreement between De Montfort University and UNISON covers facilities for employees of the University who have been properly elected, in accordance with UNISON rules, to act as trades union officials (other than Health & Safety Representatives which is covered by a separate Agreement).

This Collective Agreement is not incorporated into the contract of employment of individual staff.


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3. General Principles

This Agreement is based on the following principles:

• The belief that both management and trades unions at De Montfort University accept their joint responsibility for ensuring a well ordered system of trades union organisation and employee relations.

• A recognition of the contribution that may be made by the trades union representatives to good employee relations.

• The value of providing facilities for trades union representatives as a means of promoting good employee relations.

• Recognition that the provisions of this Agreement will have to be introduced within the resources available, for which the University will endeavour to allocate a reasonable and suitable budget on an annual basis.

• There will, exceptionally, be occasions when the trades union representative’s job within the University must have priority over his/her employee relations duties.

• Time off will not be granted where the activity consists of arranging or participating in industrial action.


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4. Time off

‘Time off’ is defined as paid time taken off by the trades union representative from his/her normal work during normal working hours, in order to undertake trades union duties or activities. Payment made to representatives will be their normal contractual pay.

De Montfort University UNISON representatives will, subject to operational requirements and in line with current legislation as a minimum, be permitted reasonable time off during normal working hours for the following purposes:

A. Meetings with Management

To prepare for meetings with management.

To attend formal JCC and JNCC meetings for the purposes of joint consultation, negotiation and collective bargaining.

To participate in discussions with management to represent the interests of a member(s) in respect of pay, job content, individual conditions of service, severance and other related issues.

B. Individual Employee Case Work

To undertake case work.

To meet with a member to prepare for and attend a meeting called by management under the probation, disciplinary, grievance, capability or other relevant procedures.

C. Working Groups

To participate in working groups organised by management.

D. Other Union Duties/Activities

To inform UNISON members at site or branch meetings about relevant discussions or consultations with management.

To explain the role of UNISON to new employees as part of their induction and UNISON’s recruitment initiative.

To seek advice from other DMU UNISON Officers or full-time UNISON officials on trade union matters.

To attend relevant regional meetings or any national bodies to which representatives have been elected.

To attend monthly UNISON executive meeting.

E. Training

To attend training in aspects of employee relations relevant to the duties of the representative.

If the trades union representative's line manager requires their role to be covered during time off, the cost of such cover should be paid for out of the UNISON budget (see section 10).


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5. Procedure for Requesting Time Off

5.1 Time Off For Trade Union Duties and Activities

Reasonable notice for requests for time off to perform trades union duties or activities should be given to the appropriate line manager at all times. The method of such notice can vary from department to department and should be agreed between the individual trades union representative and their line manager. In requesting time off to perform trades union duties or activities, the representative must provide the appropriate line manager with the following information:

• An outline of the duty or activity to be undertaken in line with Section 4 above.

• Date and time.

• Expected period of absence.

• Location/venue.

• Contact point/telephone number (where practicable).

5.2 Time Off For Training

Instances of when reasonable time off will be permitted include the following:

• To attend initial training in basic representational skills as soon as possible after their. election or appointment

• To attend further training particularly where the official has special responsibilities.

• Where legislative change(s) may affect their role significantly in the conduct of employee relations with management.

• Where there are proposals to change the structure and topics of negotiation about matters for which the union is recognised.

The training must be approved by the Trades Union Congress or the union head office or regional office. Representatives who require paid time off to undergo training should:

a. Give at least four weeks notice to their line manager of their nomination to attend the training course, giving details of date and time of training, expected period of absence, location/venue and contact telephone number (where practicable) and

b. Provide a copy of the syllabus or prospectus or the programme indicating the contents of the training course.

5.3 Approval/Refusal of Request

Where a request for time off is granted, information should be sent by the trades union representative to the UNISON Branch Secretary to enable statistical returns to be drawn up at the end of each academic year (please refer to Section 6).

Where a request for time off is refused the line manager should explain the reasons for the refusal in a one to one discussion and an alternative time for the duties or activities to be carried out should be agreed if possible. In the cases of inability to reach agreement, the trades union representative and the line manager should seek advice from the HR Partner for the area and should it be necessary, the HR Partner will arrange for the Director of Human Resources to arbitrate between the two parties and to make a final decision.


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6. Records

6.1 Facilities Diary

To ensure that time off is efficiently managed by both management and the union, UNISON will maintain a diary to record the amount of time off taken by all UNISON representatives during the academic year. The Branch Secretary of UNISON should provide to the Director of Human Resources every year in September, a written summary of the time taken by all UNISON representatives within each of the categories defined in Section 4.

6.2 Notification of Union Representatives

The Branch Secretary will confirm, in writing to the Director of Human Resources in September each year, the UNISON representatives for the forthcoming academic year and any subsequent changes.


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7. Executive and Branch Meetings

The University will provide the facility for UNISON representatives to hold and attend a monthly Executive meeting.

The University will provide the facility for all UNISON members to meet during normal working hours, twice within each academic year for the purpose of its annual general meeting or special general meeting at a time and venue agreed with the Director of Human Resources. Requests for such facilities must be made in writing, to the Director of Human Resources, giving a minimum of 10 working days’ notice.


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8. Accommodation and Equipment

In order to support De Montfort University trades union representatives in carrying out their role in good employee relations, the University will provide:

• A base office at the Leicester and Bedford campuses.

• Use of an office as and when required to enable private discussions with a member at any other DMU location when use of the base office is not appropriate.

• Reasonable use, where available, of notice boards for the display of official UNISON information and communications, in each building if possible.

• The use of email facility to communicate with members.

Trade union representatives are reminded that the email facility is for communicating with members and the facility should not under any circumstances be used for balloting activities.

Remaining items such as reprographic equipment, other University facilities and travelling expenses will be covered by UNISON from the annual UNISON budget (see section below).


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9. Information

The Director of Human Resources will provide to the unions on a monthly basis, a list of new employees starting and those who have left the University covered by the scope of this Agreement.


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10. Annual Budget

As part of this Agreement, De Montfort University will provide UNISON with an annual budget to support the expenditure within the Facilities Agreement. The level of this budget will be established through discussion with the Branch Chair on an annual basis and will take account of numbers of members but the final budget will be decided by management.

The budget will be used for the following:

a. Purchasing part-time or temporary staff hours in order to ensure that union representatives can carry out their trade union duties or attend approved training.

b. Payment for the use of reprographic facilities and photocopy cards. These will include matters of branch administration and other items, which are agreed as being in the interest of good employee relations.

c. Payment for stationery and postal costs.

d. Payment for the travelling expenses incurred while performing DMU related trade union duties or activities. Travelling expenses will also include the cost of car hire if this is used.

Other expenditures which may be included in the budget are:

• Cost of training and/or travelling, subsistence and accommodation costs incurred by a trade union representative while attending training relating to employment matters. However, this does not include expenses relating to national delegate conferences arranged by UNISON or the TUC.

Costs which are associated with balloting or industrial action purposes are not covered under the budget.

If the union Treasurer has doubts as to whether or not expenditure is covered by the budget, s/he is advised to seek clarification from the Head of HR Policy Development. Also, if the union wishes to use the budget for items not mentioned above in 10 (a) to (d), the Chair of UNISON should discuss the need for the item with the Director of Human Resources and obtain approval before it is purchased.

Reports on expenditure against budget should be provided to the Director of Human Resources on a quarterly basis by the Chair of UNISON on the following dates: 1 August, 1 November, 1 February, 1 May.


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11. Review and Termination

Either party to this Agreement may initiate a review of its contents by placing a formal request on the agenda for the JNCC.

Should either party to this Agreement wish to terminate the Agreement, four months notice in writing shall be given to the other party and good cause must be shown.

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