Release of Staff for Trade Union Duties

Central Management Group Communication1

The University values the excellent working relationships it has with local representatives from its recognised Trade Unions and sees partnership working with the Unions as vital to maintaining a positive employee relations environment within the University.

Within the framework of partnership working, Joint Union colleagues are involved in consultation and negotiation with the University on a wide range of matters, including policy development; terms and conditions of employment; and proposals for change, including redundancy avoidance.

In compliance with the legal requirements for Union representatives to be afforded time off from normal duties to enable them to carry out their union roles, the University supports ad hoc release from normal duties for such representatives. This includes those union representatives involved in casework, supporting their members in relation to a wide range of workplace issues. In the case of a smaller number of union representatives, who are elected officers of the recognised Unions or officers of Joint Unions, the University supports the provision of funded facility time by reimbursing the employing unit for time spent by staff on official Union duties.

The University fully appreciates the support and flexibility given by local managers in enabling Union colleagues to take the required time away from their day jobs when required. However, it also recognises that there are some occasions where managers have struggled to release representatives at the required time. It is for these occasions that CMG is seeking further support from managers in taking all possible steps to enable Union colleagues to be released for the appropriate amount of time for Union duties, including the need to ensure that those Union representatives supported by funded facility time have that time formally recognised within their workload allocations.

Background

At CJCNC in October 2012, there was discussion around the difficulties some staff were experiencing when requiring time off from their normal duties so they can fulfil their Trade Union roles. It was agreed that a communication would be developed by CJCNC members which reminds managers of their obligations in this respect, and forwarded for approval at CMG before being issued.

The communication was discussed and agreed at CJCNC in December 2012. It was agreed that the communication would be published on line, and circulated to senior managers, once CMG approval is given.

The University exposes itself to a certain amount of risk if managers are not supportive of requests for time off for trade union activities. These risks include poor employee relations, relationships with Trade Unions and also delays to personal case work where union representatives are not available for formal meetings.

1 Central Management Group agenda and papers 23 Jan 2013

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Edinburgh University Joint Unions Liaison Committee

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