Labour Research (September 2012)

Union news

Get voice heard on reps’ time

Civil service union PCS is urging its members to respond to the government consultation on trade union facility time by saying how the union has helped them or their workplace.

In July, the Cabinet Office launched a consultation into how much paid time off civil servants should be allowed for trade union duties, saying the practice cost the taxpayer £36 million a year.

PCS says some of its groups and branches will submit their own responses but that the Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has agreed to consider comments from individual civil servants. The union urges members to “use this opportunity to tell the minister how current facility time agreements support the vital work that trade unions do in the civil service and the difficulties that would arise … if these arrangements were undermined”.

The union says facility time in the civil service only accounts for 0.2% of staff time and says the review should look at all the facts.

General secretary Mark Serwotka said: “If ministers were serious about using reps’ time wisely and efficiently they would look no further than the incredibly wasteful system ... that means we have to hold more than 200 sets of negotiations over pay and conditions.”

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