Defend Facility Time! A resource for employees and employers
The Guardian Comment is Free site on Sunday featured a piece by Peter Lazenby on the attack on facility time by right wing extremists. Our comment is below. Peter’s original article is here
Of course such actions by Conservative led Councils are motivated less by concern for ‘costs to council tax payers’ and more by an ideologically driven antipathy (and in some cases hatred) towards unions. They also fly in the face of the facts.
In September last year the TUC published a paper called ‘The Facts About Trade Union Facility Time’. The paper contained evidence that the presence of union reps in workplaces not only benefited individual employees, but the organisations themselves. Union reps were found to play a significant part in increasing productivity, making workplaces safer, reducing the costs of recruitment and helping organisations become more responsive to change by helping staff acquire new skills in addition to updating those they already have.
The most recent comprehensive assessment of the contribution by union reps towards improved business performance was made by the then Department of
Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR, now BIS) in 2007 as part of a review of union reps facilities and facility time. The report found that the work of union reps resulted in;
· Savings to employers and the exchequer of between £22m-£43m as a result of reducing the number of Employment Tribunal cases;
· Benefits to society worth between £136m-£371m as a result of reducing working days lost due to workplace injury and;
· Benefits to society worth between £45m-£207m as a result of reducing work related illness
It’s facts like these that the right wing zealots to be found on the Tory back benches, within council council chambers and hidden away in shadily funded organisations such as the so-called Tax Payers Alliance choose to ignore. Ask many individual employees and employers and you get a different story of conscientious individuals volunteering to help their colleagues and by default the organisations for which they work making the workplace fairer and at the same time more efficient.
Bargaining to Organise, TUC resources to help reps defend and improve facility time, are available from the TUC website here