Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Facility time is vital for unions but also for employers

#ulgc15 Delegates slammed attacks on the trade union facility time and called on the union to support our members with training, finance and other resources to fight these attacks but also to organise to increase our activist base.

Moving the motion for the Service Group Executive, Western Isles Alison MacCorquodale delivered an excellent maiden speech and told delegates that securing and maintaining adequate facility time was already one of the major challenges facing us in Local Government.

She warned, however, that with the election of the Tory majority government, we now face a crisis.

“We have a government which wants to attack facility time because it wants to attack the trade unions. This is not about saving money, this is about trying to break us because we are a threat,” slammed Alison.

“Facility time is essential to the work that we do – representing negotiating, consulting, recruiting and organising.

“However, facility time is also vital to our employers. Without it, effective industrial relations become very difficult and it is much harder for us to help resolve problems at an early stage. Many employers recognise this.”

She applauded those branches that have defended facility time successfully – involving members in campaigns and highlighting the valuable work of union stewards and reminded delegates that
UNISON has a wealth of materials to help branches in their fights against facility time cuts with excellent guidance which has been updated and circulated to branches this month.

Alison pointed to yet another critical issue for us at this time – outsourcing – with branches finding it harder and harder to use facility time to represent members in outsourced services because employers are clamping down on it – a problem likely to intensify.

She called on the union to press hard for deals which protect our right to represent our members after outsourcing.

“We need an organising approach,” said Alison. “Having stewards in each and every workplace is essential.”

She also supported the call for the local government leadership to work closely with the national union leadership to look at financial support for branches.

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