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Appendix A4.1

Facilities agreement

1. Introduction

This agreement sets out the principles and practices governing the facilities available to employees, who are "accredited representatives" or members, not paid officials, of the Trades Union recognised in the BBSRC.

The agreement takes account of the requirements of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 as amended, and the provisions of the ACAS Code of Practice on "Time off for Trade Union duties and activities".

Part A sets out the principles relating to the agreement and to employee relations in general. Part B deals with the practical application of the provisions of the agreement.

Reference to "the NCC" means a Negotiating and Consultative Committee. A union "branch" means branch, section or equivalent.

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2. Part A – Principles

We will ensure that the principles of this agreement are interpreted and applied consistently throughout the BBSRC JNCC employment area. Disagreements on points of principle or requests for clarification as to the intention of this agreement will be referred to the JNCC.

Directors must ensure that the agreement is applied consistently across their establishments.

There should be effective methods of negotiation, consultation and communication, so that management and the unions deal effectively with each other.

Each establishment will set up a local Negotiating and Consultative Committee (NCC) to deal with relevant issues. The constitution, name and procedures for the NCC will be determined locally, subject to ratification by the JNCC.

This agreement covers activities in which unions and management are jointly involved, and those which only concern the unions.

It is desirable for members of the BBSRC recognised unions to be adequately represented at all levels. Proper representation is a responsible and important duty which contributes to the effective operation of the BBSRC JNCC employer establishments. There will be no discrimination against any employee who undertakes such duties.

At each establishment, recognised unions have a responsibility to the establishment TUS.

Union representatives have responsibilities to their union and to the employees they represent.

Local union representatives and members have responsibilities to the establishment in which they are employed.

Unions and management are responsible for ensuring a well-ordered system of employee relations and union organisation.

It is for each establishment to agree with the local TUS, through their NCC, the detail regarding the granting of facilities in line with this agreement.

Provision of facilities for effective representation promotes good employee relations. However, unnecessary cost should be avoided to maintain establishment effectiveness.

Facilities detailed in the agreement will not be provided for the detailed planning, or specific implementation of industrial action.

All levels of management should know the extent of their authority; and all union representatives should know the extent of their duties under the agreement.

Unions and management have a responsibility to abide by agreements reached, whether nationally or locally.

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3. Part B - Practical application

3.1 Accredited representatives

An "accredited representative" is an employee who has been appointed to:

  • membership of the TUS of the JNCC or one of its standing committees or
  • is an officer or a member of the BBSRC/MRPs Branch Committee of the Prospect or PCS in the BBSRC or MRPs or
  • the office of the TUS Chair or Secretary of an establishment’s NCC
  • the office of Chair or Secretary of an establishment’s Branch of Prospect or PCS

Other posts or offices can be appointed as accredited representatives if management and the TUS at national or establishment level (as appropriate), agree.

The appropriate union branch or TUS secretary is responsible for informing management about the appointment of new accredited representatives. For appointments to the BBSRC TUS and central committees, contact the secretary of the JNCC. For appointments at establishments, contact the Head of Operations. The information should state the name and office of the appointee, the date of commencement and the duration of the appointment.

Facilities and paid time to be provided for accredited representatives are listed below.

3.2 Time-off for employee relations activities

For JNCC and NCC TUS Officers and the Branch Officers of the recognised unions, paid "employee relations time" will be granted as follows:

  1. Between the JNCC TUS Officers: equivalent to 1.55 posts
  2. Between the NCC Chair and Secretary at each establishment: equivalent to 0.1 posts

Establishment management will contribute to the cost of word processing, photocopying and printing and the provision of secretarial help for NCC and union business on a basis to be agreed by each establishment.

Accredited representatives, who are not paid employee relations time as above, may receive an allocation of up to 25 working days in each leave year for employee relations duties. Local establishment management will determine the allocation, when the appointment of the accredited representative is notified to management. Where the representatives’ duties include membership of the JNCC TUS, its standing committees or the Branch and National Executives of the recognised unions, the allocation will be determined in liaison with the Director of People and Development Group, BBSRC Office, but will not exceed 40 days. NCC Chairs and Secretaries may receive an additional allowance of up to 25 days to take account of other employee relations duties, beyond those covered above.

Exceptionally, additional paid employee relations time may be awarded to accredited representatives to deal with special circumstances. The procedure is:

  • written application, giving full details, may be made at any time to the secretary of the management side by the Chair/Secretary of the BBSRC TUS or BBSRC/MRPs Branch of the union. A decision will be given in writing
  • details of all requests in the previous 12 months, the employees concerned and the amount of, and justification for, additional time approved, will be provided for consideration at the JNCC AGM

An accredited representative must give the maximum notice possible to his/her line manager for any proposed absence on employee relations duties, and must account to their line manager for the use of that time. Approval for absence will normally be given, as long as official duties are met.

The employee relations duties for which time-off is appropriate include:

  1. attendance at joint meetings between the TUS or unions and management
  2. consultation and negotiation with management on matters of joint concern, e.g. conditions of service
  3. preparing and considering papers and proposals for joint meetings, consultation and negotiation
  4. consulting and informing members through the normal channels of communication
  5. attending meetings with other accredited representatives or full-time union officers to consider matters of joint concern to management and the unions
  6. attending meetings of the TUS or union representatives before or after a joint meeting to consider matters relating to that meeting
  7. preparation for and accompanying members at meetings being held under an agreed procedure (e.g. grievance, discipline or redundancy)
  8. explaining the role of the union in employee relations in the BBSRC to employees
  9. taking part, as a representative, in meetings of official policy making bodies of the union (such as the National Executive Committee), meetings of the TUS or meetings of Branch Committees
  10. Preparation for and attendance at meetings to enable engagement with management (e.g. meetings with other representatives to develop understanding of the issues including the broader science agenda, BBSRC annual delegate conference)

Time off for approved employee relations activities by accredited representatives and union members normally takes the form of paid employee relations time. Pay, and allowances related to pay, will not be affected by such absence from work, but overtime rates will not be paid for absence during overtime periods.

3.3 Training

Within the allowances for time off and subject to the conditions above, employee relations time is available for accredited representatives to attend training courses. Attendance must be agreed by their union HQ and be relevant to their representational duties. The allowances are as follows:

  • during the first or second year as an accredited representative: up to 10 days
  • in subsequent years: up to 5 days, except that up to 5 days from the following year's training allowance may be anticipated if the course lasts up to 10 days

3.4 Recording Facilities Time

Accredited representatives will be expected to provide monthly returns to the Head of HR on time taken for employee relations and trade union duties, using the form at appendix A4.5.

3.5 Union members

As long as official duties are met, reasonable requests for employee relations time with pay will be granted to union members who are not accredited representatives, for the purpose of:

  • attending in a specialist capacity, a joint meeting or meetings of the establishment TUS, or with full-time union officials or accredited representatives, in connection with matters of joint concern to the unions and establishment management
  • attending meetings to discuss issues which form part of the negotiation and consultation process

Also, with management agreement, reasonable requests for employee relations time with pay will be given to union members:

  • voting on management proposals at the workplace
  • attending union meetings called to discuss major or urgent issues, such as pay or significant changes to terms and conditions of employment
  • attending educational/training courses held by a trade union
  • attending annual conferences as a trainee delegate (this must be sponsored by the headquarters of your trade union)

3.6 NCC representatives training

To help union members take an active and positive role in employee relations processes, establishment management sympathetically consider requests for up to 5 days employee relations time special paid leave for training related to NCC duties. Approval is subject to the demands of official duties.

3.7 Administrative facilities

The following facilities are normally made available to accredited representatives at each site:

  • Office accommodation
    A room is set aside for the use of accredited representatives and members on TUS/union business. If no such room is exclusively available, the private use of a general room is granted, for example for interviews.
  • Furniture
    The TUS/union room is appropriately furnished. A desk with a lockable drawer and/or a lockable cabinet is provided.
  • Telephone and IT facilities
    Accredited representatives are allowed the use of an official telephone with reasonable privacy. Where accommodation is available to a union, a telephone is installed. No charge is made for telephone calls made on union business, in return for an agreement that this facility is not abused.
    In addition, accredited representatives are allowed the reasonable use of fax machines and have access to a computer terminal and e-mail.
  • Notice boards
    Notice boards are provided for the exclusive use of unions/TUS - the siting of them is agreed with management. A union is free to exhibit union notices of general interest to employees but no notice may be exhibited anywhere else on official premises without the consent of establishment management. Management can object to any notice and have it removed, giving reasons. The union can appeal to management about the reinstatement of the notice.
  • Official services
    Unions may send correspondence through the establishment’s internal mail, but will have to pay the charge of items posted externally.
  • Word processing and copying facilities
    In addition to the support provided for BBSRC TUS officers on facilities time, other employees on facilities time are allowed the use of official word processing, photocopying and printing, where available, for essential industrial relations work, provided that this does not interfere with official work.
  • Access to documents
    A copy of the employment code, with any amendments, is given to union officers. Copies of unrestricted Council papers and non-confidential documents given to management by People and Development Group will be made available to the JNCC TUS.

3.8 Notification of new entrants

  • Establishments give the names of starters, leavers and transferees to the TUS
  • Accredited representatives are given the opportunity to speak to starters about the role of unions in the BBSRC. Management can attend if they wish
  • Recruitment of new union members on establishment premises is allowed, as long as the process does not interfere with the individual’s work or their rest breaks

3.9 Election of union representatives

Agreed facilities are provided for the election of union representatives. Where election takes place at the union’s annual general meeting, the meeting will be allowed to start during working hours.

3.10 Access to establishment members

Accredited representatives can have access to establishment members by arrangement with local management.

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4. Terms of the agreement

This agreement can be amended or ended by negotiation at the JNCC.

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Last updated 4/11/13
Amendment 160 - Sept 2013