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I have just completed level 1 training to be a union rep at my workplace. I had a day a week off for 10 weeks to attend.

 

I've now been asked to attend the level 2 course starting at the end of April for another ten weeks.

 

My employer has told me i cannot be spared as we are short of staff. I could go to a course in a years time though.

 

The ACAS document "time off for trade union duties and activities" says the employer has to let you have reasonable time off for union training.

 

Any ideas as to what exactly is reasonable judged as?

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No hard and fast rule but I'd say an entire month off ( 2 x 10 days) was excessive assuming you will have other union duties to perform as well.


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I have just completed level 1 training to be a union rep at my workplace. I had a day a week off for 10 weeks to attend.

 

I've now been asked to attend the level 2 course starting at the end of April for another ten weeks.

 

My employer has told me i cannot be spared as we are short of staff. I could go to a course in a years time though.

 

The ACAS document "time off for trade union duties and activities" says the employer has to let you have reasonable time off for union training.

 

Any ideas as to what exactly is reasonable judged as?

Surely your choice of Trade Union should simply provide you with an appropriate manual, and if any additional training was required to read the document, could more than likely deliver that training during evening or weekends, at your expense.

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Any ideas as to what exactly is reasonable judged as?

 

Not overly disrupting or diverting the employers business interests by you discharging your duties.

 

Your union should have a facilities agreement in place if your in a large workplace which covers these issues. If not you are always at the whim on the employer.

 

I don't see the not now but next time as unreasonable and have negotiated many of these releases for reps i managed, if there was a course sooner you are free to ask for that but to be honest i used to stops reps doing back to back releases as so many left soon after as they didn't like the role or it was an excuse to get back at management.

 

Sometimes union trainers lose touch with reality and still live in the 70's in my experience and have lost touch with the workplace. It's easily to tell you to lodge a grievance under the ERA and TURLCA for failure to give reasonable time off from the classroom they have inhabited for too long. The better the industrial relations in your workplace the easier you will find getting release to be ;)

 

You'll learn more by doing anyhow, the courses are good for green reps new to the game but i never found them to be much use as i already knew how to lodge grievances and chat to people i didn't know.

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its nice to see the previous poster quote the TULRCA 1992

its obvious that your employer has a trade union presence

i myself do not think giving 6 months notice on a trade union course is being unreasonable

 

as stated, facility time should have allready been negotiated by the previous rep through a local agreement

 

i myself being a rep for 20 years had to go all through the courses again as my employer demanded to see my qualifications before i represented a member on my capability. yes a rep for 20 years doing union skills 1,2 and 3

 

my best advice would be to contact your branch area rep and get him/her to do any negotiations for you as you are a new rep on union release time

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The course i wanted to go on was Thursdays (a working day for me) and they said no.

 

I also asked if i went on a day i do not work (Fridays) would they pay me for those 10 days. No again was the reply.

 

If i went Fridays work would not be affected at all but they do not want to pay me 2 weeks extra money.

 

Is it reasonable for me to attend while not being paid while all the other people are being paid (they all work full time).

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it's reasonable for you to wait until next year.....


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I think you have a three choices, 1) dont do the course 2) wait a year 3) do it in your own time without extra pay from your company. All depends on weather you consider it doing in your own time at your own expense if you dont think it is then why would your employer think its worth his time and money in paying you extra to do it? I think 10 weeks is a long time, a couple of days ok but 2 weeks?


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Please contact your branch area rep on this

 

Most employers have an agreement where going on a trade union course is "paid release" from the employer

 

Not all courses are covered , but most are. It depends what agreement the trade union has with the employer. All the employer does is claim back the wages direct from the trade union, who in turn claim it back from the goverment

 

its all in the TULRCA 1992

 

Most trade unions go to a union learning centre where the tutors are from the local college. This is residential over a five day period. The TUC learning do a ONE DAY a week course over 10 weeks so its only 10 days in total loss to the employer, NOT 10 WEEKS

 

AS STATED CONTACT YOUR BRANCH OFFICE /SECRETARY FOR ADVICE.

Edited by squaddie

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My branch secretary is now dealing with this.

 

The time off is 10 days in total not 10 weeks.

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may i ask what union you belong to and good luck on this dedicated profession

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Unison.

 

Also, i've been told to wait another year not next year i.e Nov 2013 until i possibly could go on this course.

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your branch secretary will sort this out for you

 

like i said, six months notice on a union traning course is more than reasonable, and any employer would be hard pressed not to allow release time in this situation.

 

you will find you will get alot of negative comments on unions on forums, just take them with a pinch of salt . unions today work within the law and promote harmony in the workplace

 

the modern trainers are college tutors for which you get you union skills certificate direct from the college as part of the open learning program.

 

i applaud you, at least you have the guts to try and make a difference and not be an arm chair critic

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Sorry I think I made a typo and put 10 weeks in my earlier posting i did mean 2 weeks or 10 days, having said that I still think it is a lot of time off for an employer to cover with staff levels etc but that is just my opinion and it does depend on the type of work that you do.


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I also offered to go on the course on my day off each week but they weren't prepared to pay me my daily wage to attend (£50). Why should i be the only person attending who is not being paid?

 

My day off is currently used for domestic work and chores. I also work weekends too to make ends meet.

 

I have a meeting tomorrow with this manager and my full time officer is on his case too!!!

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starting a union/manager relationship as "on his case" is probably a bad idea. Can you be less confrontational and still assertive?


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starting a union/manager relationship as "on his case" is probably a bad idea. Can you be less confrontational and still assertive?

My branch officer said this person has been obstructive before and he's "on his case".

 

I'll play it by ear though.

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are you the lead or only rep with your employer?

 

will you be playing a major leading role in collective bargaining?

 

If not the employer can refuse on grounds of lack of relevance. (it does not matter if the union think the training is relevant!)


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I am the first rep they've ever had. I'll also be the only 1.

 

40% of the staff are in the union.

 

Why is the collective bargaining a big deal as i've not been told that's relevant.

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caring guy

 

You have to accept people will criticise what you say and do, be it at work, at home, or even on an internet forum.

 

remember that you are traning to be a rep, and for the benefit of other posters i will repeat, "TRANING" to be a rep

 

people are talking of "collective barganing"

 

This chap has only just started being a rep and has only done the basic stage 1 course. he will learn about agreements and procedures later in other courses

 

if their are any collective or local agreements, disciplinary etc to be done, branch will send an area rep to be an overseer until he is qualified to take on the roll himself.

Even i put any agreements up to branch first before i sign them off

 

if he is the only certificated rep in the office, all traning courses will be classed as relevant to enable the rep to function in a business with a trade union presence

 

lets give this chap some slack shall we

 

he is new to the role of being a rep and a bit of encouragement would be beneficial instead of being negative all of the time

Edited by squaddie

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Squaddie, as I am sure you know the level 2 course covers collective bargaining and also covers campaiging etc.

 

If he will not be using these skills, then the employer is within their rights to disallow the training as unreasonable time off, as the skills will not be used.

 

I am not trying to critiscise but there is nothing worse than not knowing what ou are going into and a healthy dose of realism helps with preparation!!

 

It also sounds like quite a small employer in which case a lot of time off has staffing and cost implications.

 

There's also walking before you run - any training professional will advise practising and embedding the first level skills before taking on new ones to give yourself a chance!


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There's also walking before you run - any training professional will advise practising and embedding the first level skills before taking on new ones to give yourself a chance

 

thats why i stated the area rep from branch will take on the resposibilities until he is trained and capable to have things like resource meetings etc on his own

 

i myself agree that in a perfect world where the office would have a sub rep or H&S REP, A period of a minimum of 12 months is ideal to "bed inn" so to speak in between courses

 

but we are only talking of a stage 1 course, which in reality is only an introduction into being a rep.

once he has done agreements and procedures, then he can take a step back and digest what he has learned and put into practice

 

i totally agree about learning to walk before you can run as being a rep is a big responsibility, and both the business and trade union have a responsibility to nurture the rep for the benefit of the business and its members

 

i do wish people would stop going on about the 1970s, its a different world now, people co-operate to safeguard jobs, pensions etc

 

ask yourself, when was the last big strike/walk out protracted by a trade union

 

unions do not work like that anymore

 

well mine does not anyway

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royal mail, london underground, virgin atlantic.... all in the last 5 years

 

I'm not sure any of them did the overall businesses any good, and I too am not a fan of protracted confrontation

 

So I'd like to see OP get off to a good start!


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ask yourself though

 

how long did those disputes last before they returned to work

 

they were settled quickly because the business and trade union started talking. and ever since ACAS mediate, they never last long

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london transport strikes all the time! And I'll need to disagree if you are citing Bob Crow as a role model!

 

I'm not sure how this answers the original question though?


Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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