MP highlights potential of union reps

A
top government minister has highlighted the potential of union learning
representatives in closing the skills gap and improving productivity.

In
a new TUC pamphlet, Learning to Organise, the economic secretary to the
treasury said the union reps could help and encourage colleagues to develop
their skills through more training.

John
Healey MP also urged unions to boost membership and adopt a learning and skills
role across the economy.

The
pamphlet was written in conjunction Natascha Engel from the TUC’s organising
academy and claims the skills gap is costing UK business as much as £10bn a
year.

A
network of 4,500 union learning reps has grown after the Government invested
£12.5m in 1998 through the Union Learning Fund.

This
number is expected to swell to at least 22,000 by 2010 after the Government
pledged another £20m over the next two years and gave learning reps the same
statutory rights and protection as other union reps.

By Ross Wigham

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