Unions want learning time

Campaigners are calling on employers to give their staff
paid time off work to get help and advice from union-sponsored learning
buddies.

 

John Monks, general secretary of the TUC, in a report
published jointly with the Campaign for Learning, said, "Health and safety
reps have made the workplace safer: union learning reps will make the workforce
smarter."

 

The first 2,000 union learning reps were trained and
accredited last year, and claim to have already helped nearly 50,000 colleague
into further training. This could rise to 500,000 by the end of the decade,
according to the Campaign for Learning and the TUC, but only if employers
provide paid time off to employees and learning reps.

 

The two organisations have set out their recommendations for
union learning reps in their research report, The Quiet Revolution. It found
that, "The support that individual learning reps receive from their
employers still varies widely, and this impacts on the amount of time they can
devote to their role."

 

Once trained, learning reps have on average, less than five
hours a week to devote to their duties, and half of them have to do the job
outside work time.

 

According to the report, just over two out of three reps
promote the value of learning to colleagues; just under one in three provide
information on learning opportunities, about half negotiate training issues
with employers and about two in five help develop learning resources on site.

 

Contacts: The Quiet Revolution is available from the TUC
Publications Unit tel: 020-7467 1294.

 

By Lucie Carrington

 

What should employers do?

 

– Work with reps to ensure all employees have access to
learning

 

– Develop learning agreements with unions

 

– Support work of learning reps with time off

 

– Grant reasonable paid time off to employees to receive
help from learning reps

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