1 Introduction

1.1
This agreement is between the Central Academic Bodies and central activities of the University of London (the “central University”) and its recognised and independent trade unions UNISON and UCU.

1.2 
The implementation of this agreement should enable elected union representatives (“an  elected representative”) to:

  • carry out union duties concerned with employment relations between staff and the central University;
  • undergo training in aspects of employment relations relating to their duties.

1.3 
This agreement should also enable elected representatives and members of UNISON and  UCU to:

  • participate in trade union activities;
  • pursue their union duties and activities without risk of prejudice from line management.

1.4 
The following information outlines the provision of time off and other facilities for elected  representatives and union members.

1.5 
This agreement does not apply to any elected representatives and members who are not  employed by the central University.

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2 Entitlement To Time Off

2.1
If you are a member of UNISON or UCU and an employee of the central University you are entitled to reasonable time off without pay to take part in trade union activities relating to the central University and its staff.

2.2
If you are an elected representative of UNISON or UCU, you are entitled during working  hours to a reasonable amount of paid time off to:

  • carry out your duties as a representative;
  • receive training relevant to carrying out those duties.

2.3
If you are an elected learning representative of UNISON or UCU, you are entitled during  working hours to a reasonable amount of paid time off to:

  • receive training to carry out the duties of a learning representative;
  • carry out those duties.

2.4 
If you are an elected health and safety representative of UNISON or UCU, you are  entitled during working hours to a reasonable amount of paid time off to:

  • receive training to carry out the duties of a health and safety representative;
  • carry out those duties.

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3 Number And Constituencies Of Elected Union Representatives

3.1
An elected representative is a member of staff who has been nominated or appointed in  accordance with the rules of UNISON and UCU to be a representative of all or some of the  their union members at the central University.


3.2
The number of elected representatives should be reasonable with regard to both the union’s  need for effective representation and communication, and the management’s need for  efficient working practices.


3.3 
The following criteria should be applied to all elected representatives:

  • the constituency of the elected representative and the number of staff they represent should be clearly defined;
  • the “area” of the immediate constituency should not be so large that the elected representative is unable to discharge his/her duties effectively, or would need more time off for union duties than could reasonably be given;
  • If there is a constituency with members but no elected representatives, another elected representative  may take on the needs of this constituency as long as the combined areas of the constituency should not be so large that the elected representative is unable to discharge his/her duties effectively, or would need more time off for union duties than could reasonably be given;
  • A constituency can be ‘shared’ between elected representatives, time off for union duties and training also being granted on a shared basis.

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4 Recognition Of Elected Representatives

4.1
Your union shall be responsible for notifying the Director of Human Resources, in writing, of  your name, your workplace address and a brief description of the duties you will perform  on behalf of your union/branch if you are or become an elected representative.


4.2
Human Resources shall confirm your recognition as an elected representative to your head  of department.  A description of the duties you will perform for your union/branch and  guidance on the content of this document will be provided to line managers to ensure their  understanding of your rights and needs as an elected representative.


4.3
In the event of serious and repeated misuse of facilities under this agreement the central University reserves the right, after application of the disciplinary procedure and/or consultation with the appropriate union, to withdraw your recognition as an elected representative.

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5 Trade Union Duties

5.1
If you are an elected representative, and your trade union has given notice in writing to the central University that you are an elected representative, you may take reasonable paid time off for duties concerned with:

  • terms and conditions of employment, or the working conditions of staff;
  • engagement or non-engagement, or termination or suspension of employment, of one or more members of staff;
  • allocation of work;
  • matters of discipline;
  • trade union membership;
  • facilities for trade union duties;
  • machinery for negotiation and consultation and other procedures; and
    any other matters associated with the legitimate interests of the trade union concerned and its members.

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6 Time Off For Elected Learning Representatives

6.1
If you are an elected learning representative, and your trade union has given notice in writing to the central University that you are an elected learning representative, you may take reasonable paid time off to:

  • analyse the learning or training needs of trade union members;
  • provide information and advice about learning or training matters;
  • arrange or promote learning or training;
  • discuss your activities as an elected learning representative with the central University; and
  • train as an elected learning representative.

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7 Training Of Elected Representatives

7.1
If you are an elected representative, and your trade union has given notice in writing to the  central University that you are an elected representative, you may take reasonable paid time off during working hours to undergo training in aspects of employment relations relevant to you carrying out your union duties as defined in paragraph 5.1 and 6.1.


7.2 
The Director of Human Resoruces (or their nominee) will meet with UNISON and UCU  annually to discuss the training needs and the proposed attendance at annual conferences of elected representatives.  The requirements of each elected representative will be looked  at on a case by case basis.  If reasonable to do so, one elected representative from each union will be allowed to attend their union’s annual conference on a paid basis.  Heads of  department/section will be consulted and the amount and schedule of time off for the  elected representative approved in principle.  Prior approval for time off in this way will not  however override your line manager’s right to refuse a request for time off for training  and/or attendance at a conference, provided that the reasons for refusal are reasonable and  are made clear to you. The central University understands that while the unions will  endeavour to present a comprehensive list of training requirements at this meeting, it is  accepted that this may be supplemented by reasonable contingent factors, such as the election mid-year of a new elected representative.


7.3
Your training must be approved by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) or by the union of which you are a member.


7.4
Your written request for relevant training should be given to your line manager with as much notice as possible (please see Appendix 1 for information to be provided). In return your line manager will respond to your request as soon as possible, after consultation with your head of division/department and/or Human Resources.


7.5
In the event you experience difficulties, or an unreasonable refusal, to receive training you  should inform the Director of Human Resources who will investigate the decision.

 

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8 Time Off For Trade Union Activities

8.1
If you are a member or elected representative of a recognised trade union you will be allowed reasonable unpaid time off to take part in any recognised trade union activity, including:

  • going to workplace meetings to talk about and vote on negotiations with the central University, such as a pay increase or changes to your terms and conditions;
  • going to a meeting with a full-time trade union official away from your workplace to discuss  issues at your workplace;
  • voting in a trade union election, for example to elect a representative;
  • consulting with an elected learning representative;
  • meetings of official policy-making bodies, such as annual conferences;
  • approved workplace meetings and properly conducted ballots, including branch committee meetings.


8.2 
Branch meetings and other activities are unpaid and will normally be expected to take place during breaks such as lunchtime.


8.3
Time off for UNISON or UCU members and representatives to attend their branch Annual General Meeting (AGM), held once a year, will be paid up to one hour only.  The AGM is required to be held at a time during the working day with the aim of causing minimal disruption to the operation of the central University i.e. early morning, lunchtime or late in the day.


8.4 
Where it is necessary for your union to hold a branch meeting during working time and/or on central University premises, for a work related purpose, and to have the central University pay you for that time, the union must first seek the central University’s consent from the Director of Human Resources as far in advance as possible. Normally such consent will not be unreasonably withheld. Where consent is given you must still meet any work commitments that you may have had arranged for that time.


8.5
Although industrial action is a trade union activity there is no right to time off for it.  However, if you are an elected representative you do have the right to time off to take part  in negotiations to avoid industrial action.

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9 Approval For Time Off Requests

9.1
Requests for time off to pursue trade union duties or activities and requests for time off for training should be made through your line manager to your head of division/department (please see Appendix 1 for information to be provided).

9.2
You should provide your line manager/head of department with as much notice as possible and:

  • give details of your reason for taking time off;
  •  the intended location; and
  •  the timing and expected duration of the absence.

9.3
When considering a request for time off, management will give due regard to the reasonableness of the request, in accordance with paragraphs 10.  Your manager has the right to refuse a request for time off, provided that the reasons for refusal are reasonable and are made clear to you.

9.4
Your manager must record their approval, in writing, copied to the Human Resources (by email will suffice).   All approved time off under these arrangements (whether paid or unpaid) must be accounted for in the proper time records at School or Divisional levels.

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10 Reasonable Time Off

10.1
There is no legal definition of ‘reasonable time off’. There is no upper or lower limit set down in law.

10.2 
In coming to a decision, managers should take the following factors into account when assessing reasonableness:

  • the essential business needs of the organisation in general and specifically in relation to each period of absence;
  • need to do your work;
  • needs of your line manager and your co-workers;
  • importance of health and safety at work;
  • the number of commitments you have made in relation to trade union and/or other duties e.g. public duties and other activities (e.g. participation in Children’s Panels) and the overall impact of time off requested;
  • the ease of “substitution” by someone that can be arranged for covering the time/duties/activities involved;
  • the complexity and number of issues that  are expected to dealt with;
  • the importance of training elected representatives to enable them to carry out their duties;  and
  • the time needed for an elected representative to prepare for meetings with management.

10.3
Elected representatives should be reasonable in their requests. You cannot expect to make a  number of commitments that involve time off (with or without pay) and receive unlimited  time off to meet those commitments.   Both managers and elected representatives should  have regard for the requirements of the work programme and seek a fair balance when making and considering requests.


10.4
Statutory time off with or without pay cannot be compensated by you working extra hours.

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11 Facilities For Trade Union Representatives

11.1
The central University undertakes to make available to elected representatives, the facilities  necessary for you to perform your duties efficiently and to communicate effectively with  your members.


11.2
These facilities shall include:

  • reasonable time off for you to perform trade union duties, training and other activities, as defined in paragraphs 5, 6,7,8, 10;
  • payment for such agreed periods of time off, equivalent to the amount you would have earned had you been at work;
  • payment of 10.5 hours per week to the division of the UCU and UNISON Branch Chair (or the payment of the 10.5 hours divided as appropriate to the divisions of the lead representatives for each union) to facilitate time for them to undertake case work relating to their TU duties, to meet with management and to communicate effectively with their members (note that prior to confirmation of payments being made, HR will need to ensure with the appropriate heads of divisions that arrangements can be made for the elected representative to take the time out from their post);
  • payment of 1.5 hours per week to the division of the finance elected representative and the health and safety elected representative of UCU and UNISON to allow them to undertake work relating to their TU duties, to meet with management and to communicate effectively with their members (note that prior to confirmation of payments being made, HR will need to ensure with the appropriate heads of divisions that arrangements can be made for the elected representative to take the time out from their post);
  • access to a telephone for genuine and urgent employment relations business as defined in paragraph 5;
  • the use of the central University’s noticeboards and central University intranet by arrangement with Human Resources;
  • the use of the central University’s internal distribution network system, including e-mail, for the purposes of official union correspondence with members;
  • the use of office facilities in connection with trade union duties as defined in paragraph 5, in agreement with the Director of Human Resources;
  • accommodation and facilities for the holding of meetings in agreement with the Director of Human Resources;
  • accommodation, where possible, for use by you in carrying out your duties;
  • the provision of information to assist you in the effective discharge of trade union duties e.g. lists of new members of staff; documents relating to conditions of employment; central University rules and regulations; manpower information;
  • arrangements for the deduction of membership subscriptions from pay at source, where requested;
  • reasonable facilities for you to hold work place meetings outside working hours, to discuss  legitimate and recognised trade union affairs. You will not be paid for attendance at such meetings;
  • the opportunity to address and handout information about the union (including application forms) to new members of staff at Staff Induction.

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12 Arrangements For Special Categories Of Staff

12.1
Wherever possible, joint union meetings with management will be convened during the central University’s normal working hours, at a mutually convenient time, and with the aim of causing minimal disruption to the operation of the central University.


12.2
If you are an elected representative and do not work standard hours, e.g. shift worker; part- time worker, you will be entitled to payment at the normal time rate, or time off in lieu, for  attendance at joint meetings convened with management, which fall outside your normal  working hours.


12.3
If you are an elected representative who is employed outside the Senate/ Stewart House complex, who is required to attend a meeting convened with management, you will be allowed reasonable paid travelling time and be reimbursed reasonable travel expenses on  presentation of an appropriate receipt to Human Resources.

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13 Complaints

13.1
All parties to this agreement undertake to make every effort to resolve any dispute or grievance in relation to time off for trade union duties or activities.  The central University’s Grievance Procedure is regarded as a last resort for representatives and members in resolving a time off request dispute or grievance.

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14 Review

14.1
This procedure will be reviewed with UNISON and UCU on an annual basis or when required by changes in the appropriate legislation.  Any amendment to it will be advised in writing by Human Resources and such written advice will inform employees as to the date when any amendment comes into effect.

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Appendix 1

Information provided to the line manager/head of department/section by an employee (by email will suffice) on making a request for time off for trade union duties and/or activities:

  • Union and position (area of remit if applicable);
  • Date/times/duration of absence;
  • *Duty/Activity/Union Approved Course/TU Conference;

Information to be provided by line manager to HR:

  • Paid /Unpaid
  • Approved/ Not approved – reasons for refusal to be given:
  • *Brief description of duty or activity to be provided i.e. acting companion at disciplinary/grievance meeting, TU meeting, consulting with a TU member etc.  Attach copy of agenda or evidence of duty or activity where possible.

*Brief description of duty or activity to be provided i.e. acting companion at disciplinary/grievance meeting, TU meeting, consulting with a TU member etc.  Attach copy of agenda or evidence of duty or activity where possible.

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