UNISON lobbying sees ministers move on facility time

Ministers have backed away from an outright ban on facility time across the UK’s public services

Last week the government – as a result of extensive UNISON lobbying – decided that unions in the public sector could continue to use check-off to collect subs from their members.

Now ministers have also backed away from an outright ban on facility time across the UK’s public services, having originally proposed to end the work of union reps in the NHS, local government, education and the police within six months of the Trade Union Bill becoming law.

UNISON’s successful campaigning behind the scenes means that reps will now be able to continue their valuable work helping members, and working with employers to ensure the UK’s public services are the best they can be.

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “When the Bill was first published, ministers were determined to put a complete stop to facility time.

“But they’ve listened to our arguments about the huge value that union reps can bring, not just to public sector employees, but to their employers as well.

“Workplaces where there is a union aren’t just safer, more pleasant places to work, they also tend to have better trained, more informed staff, and that has a huge impact on the quality of service provided to the public.

“There’s still much that is wrong with the Bill, but we’re pleased ministers have been persuaded by our arguments, and are prepared to give unions the chance to show that union facility time is something that goes hand in hand with good quality public services.”