Experts question worth of time-off guidance for URLs

Guidance on the amount of time off Union Learning Reps (ULRs) are entitled
to has been launched, but experts question its effectiveness.

ULRs are to be given statutory powers to promote workplace learning under
the Employment Act. But Robbie Gilbert, chief executive of the Employers’ Forum
on Statute and Practice, says the Acas code – which outlines the amount of time
off ULRs are allowed – leaves questions unanswered.

"There are a lot of gaps," he said. "And, the legislation
doesn’t give any help."

He said organisations with good union relations will be able to manage, but
he suspects others will run into trouble.

Ultimately, he said, rights will need to be determined by case law, and
tribunals will have to deal with the problem.

Gilbert said HR needs to ensure the ULR role does not clash with the main
drive of the organisation’s training programmes.

The TUC and its member unions have already recruited almost 5,000 ULRs. TUC
general secretary-elect Brendan Barber claims that reps can help to plug skills
gaps.

www.acas.gov.uk/publications

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