Trade Union: Facilities Agreement*


Trade Union: Facilities Agreement* pdf(64 kb)


Go to a specific section:

1. Introduction

2. General Principles

3. Accredited Representatives

4. Safety Representatives

5. Trade Union Duties

6. Trade Union Activities

7. Trade Union Training

8. Industrial Action

9. Implementation of Time off for Duties, Activities and Training

10. Responsibilities of the Employer and the Trade Unions

11. Other Facilities



1. Introduction

This agreement between the De Montfort University and the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (NATFHE) and the Association of University Teachers (AUT), describes the principles and practices in respect of the facilities made available to those employees, not being paid officials, who are accepted as accredited representatives of the Union.


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2. General Principles

This agreement is based on the belief that the Union and the Institution accept their joint responsibility for ensuring a well ordered system of industrial relations. It recognises the contribution that can be made by NATFHE & AUT and their representatives to the smooth running of the Institution, and ensures that reasonable facilities are provided to enable them to perform both their industrial relations duties and to facilitate their work regarding the organisation of the trade union. It provides that the timing, frequency and amount of time off without loss of pay should be reasonable in the circumstances having regard to:

a) The appropriate legislation and codes of practice covering time off for trade union duties of accredited employee representatives and their training in industrial relations and time off for trade union activities, and

b) The need to interpret this into the context of a teaching environment in higher education, or where appropriate, further education.


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3. Accredited Representatives

Union members may elect / nominate employee representatives in accordance with the rules of that union. The union should formally inform the employer in writing of the nominations or replacement of an accredited representative and the area or areas they represent. In the event of disagreement regarding the nomination of an accredited representative as against a Branch Officer or regarding the provision of facilities to that representative then the matter shall be referred as a failure to agree. Any such failure to agree should be referred to Stage 3 of the procedure for dealing with collective issues under section 7.1 of the Recognition and Procedure Agreement.


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4. Safety Representatives

The function, role, responsibilities, training and time off arrangements are those in the document entitled "Safety Representatives" which forms part of the Institution's safety policies (SP3/34/90) or its replacement should this be amended at some future date.


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5. Trade Union Duties

Trade Union duties are defined as follows (in accordance with Section 29(i) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1974 and Section 27 of the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978 as amended by the Section 14 the Employment Act 1989. This legislation indicates an entitlement to reasonable time off without loss of pay during working hours to perform duties concerned with negotiations with the employer.

a) Terms and Conditions of employment, or the physical conditions in which any employees are required to work.

b) Engagement or non-engagement, or termination or suspension of employment or the duties of employment, of one or more employees.

c) Allocation of work or the duties of employment as between employees or groups of employees; including grievance procedures and redundancy and dismissal arrangements.

d) Matters of disciplinary procedure, representing constituents at disciplinary hearings or appearing on behalf of constituents, or as witnesses, before agreed outside appeal bodies or industrial tribunals.

e) The membership or non-membership of a trade union on the part of an employee.

f) Facilities for officials of trade unions.

g) Machinery for negotiation and consultation, and other procedures, relating to any of the foregoing matters including the recognition by employers or employers' associations of the right of a trade union to represent employees in such negotiations or consultations or in the carrying out of such procedures.

N.B. In respect of grievance, disciplinary and any official capability procedures (when agreed) it is accepted that reasonable time should be allowed for the representative for preparation with the individual concerned.


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6. Trade Union Activities

Under Section 28 of the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978, an employee who is either a representative or a member of a recognised trade union is entitled to a reasonable amount of unpaid time off to participate in trade union activities such as:


For a representative:

a) Branch, area or regional meetings of the union where the business of the union is under discussion.

b) Meetings of official policy making bodies such as the executive committee or annual conference.


For a trade union member:

a) Attending work place meetings to discuss and vote on the outcome of negotiations with the employer or attending talks given by full-time officials.

b) Voting in properly conducted ballots on industrial action.

Although the legislation indicates that this should normally be time off without pay, this needs careful interpretation in the working context of teaching jobs in higher education or, where appropriate, further education (see Section 9 below).


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7. Trade Union Training

a) Requirement of Legislation and Codes of Practice

Under Section 27 of the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978, a trade union official or employee representative is also entitled to paid time off to undergo training to equip him or her with the knowledge and skills to cope with the industrial relations duties as a union official. This training will be on matters for which the union is recognised, or the Institution has agreed that the union may act on behalf of the employees, and which are related to or connected with:

- Terms and conditions of employment, or the physical conditions in which any employees are required to work.

- Recruitment and dismissal procedures.

- Allocation of work.

- Matter(s) of discipline.

- Trade Union membership.

- Facilities for officials of trade unions.

- Machinery for negotiation or consultation.

- Safety (see Section 4).

b) Basic Training

Any courses requested should be approved by the TUC or the union head office. The institution would have the right to see the course programme to support a request for time off. Operational requirements would also be a consideration in determining approval for time off for training. However, the Institution would be prepared to release trade union officials for initial training in basic representation skills as soon as practicable after their election or appointment, subject only to what number require training at any one time.

c) Other Training

Reasonable time off will also be considered for example:

- For further training particularly where the official has special responsibilities.

- Where there are proposals to change the structure and topics of negotiation at the place of work.

- Where legislative change may affect their role significantly at the place of work and may require the reconsideration of existing agreements.

d) Requesting Time off for Training Purposes

i) Officials who request paid time off to undergo training should:

* Give as much notice as possible; trade unions should normally give at least four weeks notice to management of their nominations for training courses.

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

ii) When deciding whether requests for time off without loss of pay for duties or training should be granted, consideration would need to be given as to their reasonableness, for example to ensure adequate cover for safety, the operation process or the provision of service. Similarly, where workplace meetings involve a large proportion of employees, managers and unions should seek to agree a mutually convenient time which minimises the effect on the operation and services.


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8. Industrial Action

There is no right to time off for officials or members to participate in industrial action.


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9. Implementation of Time off for Duties, Activities and Training

a) Introduction

The implementation of time off for trade union duties, activities and training needs to be carefully considered when being applied in a professional academic environment. This is because the nature of the work is such that the tasks to be done (particularly those that are directly related to scheduled teaching responsibilities) cannot easily be relinquished once assumed. Thus when a lecturer takes on a course and assumes the responsibility for lectures, tutorials and other classes for that course then they still need to be prepared, and the students assignments still need to be marked, irrespective of any time-off arrangements. Consequently, once these responsibilities have been assumed the lecturer retains those responsibilities for the duration of the academic year. This recognition of responsibility ensures that students are not academically disadvantaged by any time-off arrangements. A factor that both sides recognise as being of great importance. This means that we have to carefully consider how we implement both "time off with pay" and "time off for trade union activities", so that they effectively reflect the "time off" that is necessary to carry out the agreed duties, activities and training.

b) The NATFHE/AUT Cost Centre

It is recognised that there are costs associated with the trade union duties, activities and training. There are a number of ways in which these costs can be calculated and allocated. In line with the mechanism used for allocating costs within the Institution, NATFHE/AUT will be treated as a Cost Centre and will operate to an agreed budget under the protocols agreed with the Director of Finance.

The purpose of this budget is to enable the trade unions to carry out their duties, activities and training. It will thus be generally used for:

i) Purchasing part-time staff hours (with appropriate on-costs), in order to ensure recognised union representatives can carry out their trade union duties including approved training.

ii) Paying for the use of certain reprographic-graphic facilities. These to include matters of Branch administration and other items which are agreed as being in the furtherance of good industrial relations.

iii) Paying for certain external telephone calls and postal costs on the same basis as (ii) above.

iv) Paying for the travel of recognised representatives travelling between Institution sites for the purpose of recognised trade union duties, activities (institution based) or training.

If either union wishes to use the budget for items not covered by the above then these items need to be agreed with the Director of Human Resources prior to the items being commenced or undertaken.

c) The Cost Centre Budget

This agreement relates to Trade Union facilities at the following sites:

Leicester - City site

Leicester - Scraptoft site

Milton Keynes site

Bedford - Lansdowne and Polhill sites

Lincoln - Caythorpe, Riseholme, Holbeach and Lincoln City sites

It is recognised that the time needed to enable recognised trade union representatives to carry out their duties and activities is dependent on the number of sites or locations for which the institution has staffing responsibilities. Consequently, it is agreed that this budget will be periodically reviewed, and reviewed as and when the number of sites and locations changes.

The annual budget for each financial year 1 August to 31 July now agreed would be £40,000 to be made up as follows:

i) £20,000 for activities at the Leicester and Milton Keynes sites and travel between them (shared between NATFHE and AUT);

ii) £7,000 for safety provision at the Leicester/Milton Keynes sites (shared between NATFHE and AUT);

iii) £3,500 for travel between Leicester/Milton Keynes sites and Bedford and Lincoln sites;

iv) £9,500 for activities at the Bedford and Lincoln sites and safety provision for those sites.

Should a supplement be required for any subsequent year this will be considered at a JCC.

d) Time-off Arrangements

i) The definitions of the two types of time-off arrangements are as follows:

1) Time-off to enable union representatives to attend to trade union duties (see Sections 5 and 7) and training is interpreted as the facility to pay for replacement teaching staff while representatives undertake the above;

2) Time-off to enable union representatives and members to engage in trade union activities (see Section 6) is interpreted as the facility to re-schedule teaching or other faculty commitments.

Pay to staff (so released or rescheduled) in both circumstances will be the normal contractual pay due to them.

ii) Notification of the intention to utilise either of the above facilities should be given at the earliest opportunity to the relevant Head of Department.

iii) Where a local union member is elected or appointed to a National or Regional Office then the time-off arrangements for that member to undertake the position shall be subject to separate negotiation as soon as possible following the election or appointment of the member.

iv) Should elected representatives or members wish to undertake other union activities concerning the Institution then either of the arrangements in (i) above may be granted by the Institution, following a request, made as far as possible in advance of the activity, to the Director of Human Resources, who will respond as soon as possible.


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10. Responsibilities of the Employer and the Trade Unions

General Considerations

a) The amount and frequency of time off taken should be reasonable in all the circumstances. The trade unions will take into account the wide variety of difficulties and operational requirements when seeking or agreeing arrangements for time off or making re-arrangements.

b) The employer should have in mind the difficulties for trade union officials and members in ensuring effective representation and communications.

c) For time-off arrangements to work satisfactorily the trade unions will seek to:

i) Ensure that officials are aware of their role, responsibilities and functions.

ii) Inform management, in writing, as soon as possible of appointments or resignations of officials (see Section 3).

iii) Ensure that officials receive any appropriate written credentials promptly.

d) The employer will make available to officials facilities for them to perform their duties efficiently and communicate effectively with their members, fellow lay officials and full-time officers.


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11. Other Facilities

a) Facilities for accredited representatives of NATFHE & AUT will, where resources permit, include:

i) The use of a room for meetings.

ii) A telephone; arrangements would be discussed whereby the Institution may pay the rental and the Union Branch or Regional Office pay for all calls.

iii) The use of a notice board facility.

iv) The use of the Institution's photocopying facilities for which payment should be made in the normal way.

b) The Human Resources Team will discuss arrangements with the appropriate union official to provide information in respect of the names and departments of individual employees covered by the scope of this agreement, and a method of updating this information on a regular basis.

c) In terms of inducting new employees, the Institution will ensure that all new employees covered by the scope of recognition are made aware of the Recognition and Procedure arrangements and agreement, and have the information and facility to have contact with the appropriate unions. To this end the unions are invited to prepare a section for the induction package which will be given to all new employees.

d) The Institution grants the officially recognised trade unions the facility of deducting membership subscription direct from pay. It is for the individual member to decide whether to opt for a deduction at source.

This amount is paid to the Union Head Office or Regional Office normally on a quarterly basis, together with a detailed list of those for whom deductions have been made. A charge is levied on the union for this administrative service.

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