Improving facility time for local government activists

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2023 National Local Government Service Group Conference
15 February 2023

Conference recognises that adequate facility time, with backfill, to undertake both union duties and union activities is vital to effectively organise and represent members in councils and schools at local, regional and national levels.

Conference notes that facility time has come under persistent attack since 2010, due to a combination of factors. Some local government employers are simply anti-union and so have cut facility time, while others have reduced facility time due to funding cuts.

The problem of accessing adequate facility time is particularly acute in schools, care settings and in fragmented and outsource employers.

Conference welcomes the research, bargaining guides and model agreements UNISON has produced to support branches in negotiating time off for their activists to fulfil their roles.

Conference also recognises that some members may find it harder take up activist roles and to achieve adequate facility time. This includes women, young workers, disabled workers, Black workers, part-time workers, LGBT+ workers, shift workers and others.

Conference notes that UNISON is committed to ensuring that our activist base is as representative of the membership as possible and that everyone, regardless of protected characteristic and/or working pattern, is able to get active in the union.

This Conference calls on the Local Government Service Group Executive to:

1)Ask local government branches for case studies to show how they have supported a diverse range of activists to access and take up union facility time, with a particular focus on improving access to facility time for activists with protected characteristics;

2)Promote and circulate UNISON guidance on bargaining for time off for trade union activists;

3)Work with the UNISON Equalities Unit, Self-Organised Groups and National Young Members’ Forum to provide appropriate additional advice to enable branches to recognise and support branches in dealing with the challenges facing workers who may identify as being in the groups listed above so that they too can access union facility time.