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Recognition of and facilities for trade union duties and activities

The objective of this agreement is to promote effective employee relations by providing accredited representatives of the recognised trade unions with reasonable time and appropriate facilities to carry out their functions. The University recognises the merit in working, in partnership, with the trade unions and is therefore keen to ensure that the role undertaken by the trade unions representatives is supported.

  1. Introduction
  2. Statutory provisions
  3. Number and constituencies of accredited union representatives
  4. Recognition of trade union representatives
  5. Trade union duties
  6. Training of trade union representatives in aspects of employment relations
  7. Time for trade union activities
  8. Facilities for trade union representatives
  9. Arrangements for special categories of staff
  10. Requests for time
  11. Complaints
  12. Buying Out Time for Trade Union Activities
  13. Review

1. Introduction

  1. This agreement is between the University of St Andrews (the University) and its recognised trade unions i.e. UCU, UNISON and UNITE.
  2. It is recognised by the parties to this agreement that effective collective bargaining, negotiation, consultation and communication, directed towards the maintenance of good employment relations, can be achieved at local level only by competent representatives of staff and management.
  3. The implementation of this agreement should enable union representatives to:
    • carry out union duties concerned with employment relations between staff and the University
    • undergo training in aspects of employment relations relating to their duties
    • participate in trade union activities.

    The following principles and procedures outline the provision of time and other facilities for recognised union representatives. The agreement does not apply to any union representatives who are not employed by the University.

2. Statutory provisions

  1. The agreement is in accordance with section 168 to 173 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act (TULR(C)A), 1992, and the ACAS Code of Practice on time for trade union duties and activities.

3. Number and constituencies of accredited union representatives

  1. An accredited union representative is a member of staff who has been elected or appointed in accordance with the rules of a recognised trade union to be a representative of all or some of the union’s members at the University.
  2. The number of union representatives appointed should be reasonable, minimum of two, with regard to both the union need for effective representation and communication, and the management need for efficient working practices.
  3. The following criteria should be met for all accredited union representatives:-
    • the constituency of the representative should be clearly defined.
    • the “area” of the immediate constituency should not be so large that the representative is unable to discharge his/her duties effectively, or would need more time for union duties than could reasonably be given.

4. Recognition of trade union representatives

  1. The recognised trade unions shall be responsible for notifying the Director of Human Resources, in writing, of the names and workplace addresses of their accredited representatives.
  2. The Director of Human Resources shall be responsible for informing Heads of Schools/Units appropriately of accredited representatives.
  3. The University reserves the right, after application of the agreed disciplinary procedure, and subject to the agreement of the appropriate union, to withdraw recognition of a representative in the event of misuse of facilities under this agreement.

5. Trade union duties

  1. To aid and improve effective employment relations, trade union representatives shall be allowed to take reasonable time for duties concerned with:-
    • terms and conditions of employment, or the working conditions of staff
    • engagement or non-engagement, or termination or suspension of employment, of one or more members of staff
    • allocation of work/workload
    • matters of discipline
    • trade union membership
    • facilities for trade union duties
    • machinery for negotiation and consultation and other procedures
    • special projects e.g. Framework Agreement
    • involvement in HERA Role Analysis process
    • personal case work
    • any other matters associated with the legitimate interests of the trade union concerned and its members.

6. Training of trade union representatives in aspects of employment relations

  1. The University shall allow trade union representatives to take reasonable time during working hours to undergo training in aspects of employment relations relevant to the carrying out of their union duties as defined in paragraph 5 above.
  2. The training must be approved by the Trades Union Congress or by the independent trade union of which the representative is a member.
  3. Nominations for relevant training should be supplied to the relevant manager with as much notice as possible. In return the relevant manager will respond to such requests as soon as possible, after consultation with the representative’s Head of School/Unit.
  4. The number of representatives receiving training at any one time should be reasonable, bearing in mind the operational requirements of the University and the availability of relevant courses.

7. Time for trade union activities

  1. Members of staff who are members or representatives of a recognised trade union shall be allowed reasonable time to take part in any recognised trade union activity, including:
    • meetings of official policy-making bodies, such as annual conferences
    • approved workplace meetings and properly conducted ballots, including branch committee meetings
  2. Where it is necessary for unions to hold general meetings of members during working hours, they should seek agreement from the Director of Human Resources as far in advance as is practicable. Both sides should seek to agree on a time which minimises the effects on the operation of the University.
  3. With the exception of industrial action, agreed time for trade union activities will normally be paid.

8. Facilities for trade union representatives

  1. The University undertakes to make available to representatives the facilities necessary to perform their duties efficiently and to communicate effectively with their members.
  2. These facilities shall include:-
    • reasonable time for trade union duties, training and other activities, as defined in paragraphs 5, 6 and 7.
    • payment for such agreed periods of time, equivalent to the amount the representative would have earned had s/he been at work.
    • access to a telephone for genuine and urgent employment relations business as defined in paragraph 5 above, with payment by the union concerned for external calls.
    • the use of the University’s notice boards.
    • the use of the University’s internal distribution network system, including e-mail, for the purposes of official union correspondence, external post being paid for by the union concerned.
    • the use of office facilities, such as photocopying and typing, in connection with trade union duties as defined in paragraph 5, in agreement with the Director of Human Resources.
    • accommodation and facilities for the holding of meetings, in agreement with the Director of Human Resources.
    • accommodation and appropriate storage, where possible, for use by trade union representatives in carrying out their duties.
    • the provision of information to assist in the effective discharge of trade union duties, e.g. lists of new members of staff, documents relating to conditions of employment, University rules and regulations.
    • arrangements for the deduction of membership subscriptions at source, where requested.
    • reasonable facilities for union representatives to hold work place meetings outside working hours, to discuss legitimate and recognised trade union affairs. Staff will not be paid for attendance at such meetings.

9. Arrangements for special categories of staff

  1. Wherever possible, joint meetings with management shall be convened during the University’s standard working hours, at a mutually convenient time, and with the aim of causing minimal disruption to the operation of the University.
  2. Staff who do not work standard hours, e.g. shift workers; part-time workers, shall be entitled to payment at the plain time rate, or time off in lieu, for attendance at joint meetings convened with management, which fall outside their normal working hours.

10. Requests for time

  1. Requests for time to pursue trade union duties or activities should be made through the representative’s supervisor, Head of School/Unit, or other appropriate person.
  2. Requests for time for training should be made to the relevant manager in accordance with paragraph 6.3.
  3. Requests for time should include the purpose of such time, the intended location and the timing and expected duration of the absence.
  4. When considering a request for time, management should give due regard to the reasonableness of the request, bearing in mind the need for adequate safety cover and the maintenance of the University’s services.
  5. The manager concerned has the right to refuse a request for time, provided that the reasons for refusal are reasonable and are made clear to the individual and are provided in a timely manner.
  6. In the event of a trade union representative experiencing difficulties, or an unreasonable refusal, to receive time or time for training they should inform the Director of Human Resources who will investigate the decision.

11. Complaints

  1. All parties to this agreement undertake to make every effort to resolve any dispute or grievance in relation to time for trade union duties or activities, informally in the first instance. Where the matter cannot be resolved informally, any dispute and grievance will be dealt with in accordance with the University’s agreed procedures.
  2. Trade union representatives or members have the right to complain to an employment tribunal that they have not been allowed reasonable time for trade union duties.

12. Buying Out Time for Trade Union Activities

  1. The University and the trade unions are currently in discussion with regard to the “buying out” of trade union time.

13. Review

  1. The terms of this agreement shall be subject to joint review after one year, and subsequently at any time.