T&G urges employers to support learner reps

The
Transport and General Workers’ Union is encouraging employers in the North West
to get ahead on new learning legislation by supporting the introduction of
trade union learning representatives in the workplace.

Last
month the T&G held its first-ever conference for the North West’s union
learner reps, who are responsible for working with employees to identify
training needs and raise them with the company.

New
legislation, to be introduced in February 2003, states that employers should
allow learner reps to take paid time off to improve employee learning  in the workplace.

The
Government moved to act after a survey revealed that 20 per cent of the UK’s
adults lack basic literacy and numeracy skills.

Ann
McCall, T&G regional education organiser for the North West said: “With the
new legislation the Government has recognised that unions have a key role to
play in workplace learning. Employees are sometimes more likely to turn to
their union than their boss about difficulties they have with basic skills, and
indeed training issues generally.

“Employees
and employers have a lot to gain from workforce development. For employers,
they benefit from better skilled and motivated workers. For employees, they can
learn new or essential skills, which can improve confidence in work and out.
Development should be about the individual, whatever their level, and doesn’t
have to be just about basic skills such as reading or writing.

“The
feedback from the conference has been inspiring. T&G learner reps in the North
West will be taking the positive initiative back to workplaces. We encourage
employers and employees alike to get on board.”

By Quentin Reade

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