Young Member’s Facility Time

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2019 National Delegate Conference
26 February 2019

Facility time is a fundamental right of trade unionists in the workplace. It ensures we support our members at disciplinaries, and that policies of the organisation’s our members work for are scrutinised and negotiated effectively.

UNISON already provides brilliant resources for our branches such as the ‘Facility Time, Guidance for branches’ document most recently revised in 2017. It highlights clearly the rights of representatives to time away from their workplace to complete union duties, however it also tells us that 59.6% of branches responding said that facility time had come under pressure since 2010.

In workplaces where the trade union is recognised, trade union workplace representatives have a statutory right to paid time off for the purpose of carrying out trade union duties. This right applies to workplace reps, health and safety reps, union learning reps and information and consultation reps. However there is no statutory time off for other union reps, including young members officers and equality reps, to undertake trade union activities.

Representing members remains a huge priority for our union but in an age where discrimination is on the rise, highlighted in many reports from across the trade union movement, organising members in the workplace to fight against discrimination and turn the tide has never been more important.

We know that where our women’s officers organise, women feel empowered, when black members have time and space to organise, we challenge racism, where our young workers fight, they receive quality training and progress.

Although young members and equalities reps do not have a statutory right to paid facility time for union activities, in many workplaces good union negotiating can achieve facility time beyond the statutory requirements. The UNISON guidance for branches states that it is important to get employers to agree to recognise equality representatives and afford them the adequate facility time to carry out their roles.

It s also important that young members, and Black, disabled, women and lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) members, have access to those roles that currently attract statutory facility time. For example, more part time and job share branch roles could encourage part time women members and young members at the start of their careers to get involved.

Conference calls upon the National Executive Council to:

1)Survey branches to identify where facility time agreements have been negotiated and to ascertain what percentage of branch negotiated facility time self-organised groups and young members officers are assigned;

2)Develop clear guidance, working with the National Young Members’ Forum to advocate the negotiating of facility time for Young Members Officers, sending this to every branch upon completion;

3)Explore ways of ensuring facility time is distributed in ways that allow young members and Black, women and LGBT members to participate fully in the union;

4)Campaign for a statutory right to facility time for equality reps;

5)Work with the National Young Members’ Forum to analyse the anticipated success of 2019, the year of young worker’s and develop this organising programme further into 2020 and beyond.