Trained union reps are in a class of their own

Alf Turner at the CIPD conference in Harrogate was guilty of overstating his case when he attacked what he called the poor quality of union reps (Personnel Today, 31 October).

Union reps are better trained than ever, and it’s not only the unions that say so. The Adult Learning Inspectorate has awarded the top grade on 10 consecutive occasions to Unionlearn/TUC Education centres across the UK in the past three years – a record without equal in other curriculum areas in further education.

Reps course activities are linked to workplace improvements. This means we can track some of the practical achievements reps deliver for their members and employers.

Last year, nearly 70,000 reps went through our courses. This is double the number that were going through similar training 25 years ago, when union membership was nearly twice its current level.

We need employers to provide better conditions and facility time for workplace reps if they want to encourage more of their staff to become better reps.

Liz Rees
Trade union education manager,

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