Human Resources

Trade Union Recognition & Facilities Agreement

  1. Purpose & Scope
  2. Recognition of Trade Unions
  3. General principles of recognition
  4. Facilities, Accreditation & Time Off
  5. Agreed Committees for Information, Consultation, Negotiation & Partnership Working
  6. Procedure for dealing with unresolved local issues and disputes
  7. Termination and Variation of Agreement
  8. Review

1.    Purpose and scope

1.1    This agreement between the University and its recognised trade unions (referred to collectively in this document as “the parties”) listed in paragraph 2.1 below, applies to all employees of the University of Bath who are remunerated on salary scales negotiated through the Joint Negotiating Council for Higher Education Staff (JNCHES) at national level. 

1.2    This agreement confirms which trade unions are recognised by the University of Bath, as the employer (referred to in this document as “the University” or “we”) and the facilities that will be given to their representatives. It sets out the agreed committees for formal partnership working between the recognised trades unions and the University.

1.3    This agreement seeks to meet the requirements of the relevant sections of the Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations (2004), the Employment Rights Act (1996), Trade Union & Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act (1992) (“TULR(C)A 1992”) and any subsequent enactments of them or other employee relations legislation. It constitutes a pre-existing agreement under the Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations (2004) and supersedes all previous agreements.

2.    Recognition of trade unions

2.1    The University recognises the following trades unions as representing and having sole consultation, negotiation and collective bargaining rights in respect of their members who are employed by the University:

  • UNIVERSITY AND COLLEGE UNION (“UCU”)
  • UNISON
  • UNITE

2.2    The University agrees that it will not negotiate with organisations not listed in this Agreement concerning matters covered in this Agreement. Nevertheless, the University recognises that the staff membership of trade unions within the University may change significantly, which could mean that the trade unions covered by this Agreement may also need to be reviewed and varied.  In such circumstances, the University will consult with the recognised Trade Unions prior to a final decision being taken.

3    General principles of recognition

3.1     The University and its recognised trades unions share a common interest in securing the aims, plans, goals and objectives of the University and through these the continued development and success of the University and its staff and students.

3.2     It is the spirit and intention of this agreement to foster the best possible relations between the University and its staff represented by its recognised trade unions and to this end to provide a mutually agreed method of discussion, consultation, and negotiation.  Without prejudice to provisions for managerial decisions which have been or shall be established within the framework or general University government as regulated by and under the Charter and Statutes, this agreement is intended to provide additional machinery for resolving issues between the University as employer and the members of staff represented by the recognised trades unions as employees.

3.3    The University as the employer and its recognised trades unions jointly commit to a university-wide system of employee relations which will operate at all levels within the organisation, based on the key characteristics of collaboration, teamwork, transparency and mutual respect.

3.4     It is the University’s responsibility to plan, organise and manage its activities to achieve its strategic objectives. The University will do so in ways that are commensurate with employment legislation and with appropriate and timely consultation and negotiation with recognised trades unions.

3.5     The University recognises the trades unions’ responsibility to carry out collective bargaining and to represent and protect the interests of their members who are employees, covered in this Agreement.

3.6     Matters covered by this section of the agreement are those defined in Section 178 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, as amended by subsequent legislation. Matters to be dealt with by collective bargaining between representatives of University management and staff will include the following items, some of which are within a national framework:

  • Remuneration and Terms & Conditions of Service
  • Employment / HR policies &  procedures
  • Matters relating to Health, Safety and Welfare
  • Trade Union Facilities

3.7    For the purposes of individual representation only, the University recognises the right of individuals to be represented by any accredited trade union representative. The University will not therefore refuse an individual member of staff being represented by a trade union representative from a trade union other than those set out in 2.1 above, provided that they are appropriately accredited in line with the relevant ACAS Code of Practice and that they have no personal involvement in the matters for which they are representing the member of staff.

3.8    The declaration of a dispute shall result in the continuation of, (or reversion to) the practice or agreement which was in place before the changes which gave rise to the dispute.

3.9    Both the University and its recognised trades unions accept that the provisions of this agreement carry the obligation to arrange discussion of issues raised as quickly as possible.

3.10    The University undertakes to provide information in a timely manner to its recognised trades unions on all developments which have or are likely to have a collective impact on employees.

3.11    To facilitate effective communication the University will meet all reasonable requests for relevant information. This includes but will not be limited to:

3.11.1    Information for collective bargaining purposes (in accordance with section 181 of TULR(C) A 1992 as amended).

3.11.2    Information in relation to consultation over redundancies where the University is proposing dismiss as redundant 20 or more staff (in accordance with section 188 of TULR(C)A 1992 as amended) with a view to reaching agreement. This is the minimum legal right.

3.11.3    Information in relation to consultation under health and safety legislation (e.g. Health & Safety at Work Act 1974).

3.11.4    Information in relation to consultation over potential transfers coming under the Transfer of Undertakings (protection of Employment) Regulations (1981) and subsequent amendments.

4.   Facilities, accreditation and time-off

4.1    Reasonable facilities shall be granted for the representatives of recognised trades unions to discharge their responsibilities under this agreement in line with Trade Union & Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act (1992) Section 168.
The University as an employer will recognise representatives elected into the following roles on behalf of their recognised trade union:

  • Steward
  • Health & Safety Representative
  • Trade Union Learning Representative
  • Branch Officer

4.2    The University recognises the important and necessary role performed by trade union representatives and will allow time off for the representatives of recognised trades unions for the following duties:

4.2.1    Negotiation of local terms & conditions of employment;

4.2.2    Preparation for consultations and negotiations with the University; 

4.2.3    Informing members about consultations and negotiations with the University; 

4.2.4    Negotiation of policies which form part of the individual contract of employment;

4.2.5    Meetings with other representatives of their trade union, either accredited local representatives or full-time officers.

4.2.6    Representing members within agreed Disciplinary and other relevant procedures (e.g. Sickness, Grievance, Capability, etc);

4.2.7    Consultation on significant changes to procedures and policies which affect staff;

4.2.8    Recruitment of new members to the recognised trades unions.

4.3    Where time off has been granted to an accredited representative for recognised trade union duties this shall be with pay. He or she shall receive the normal contractual pay that they would have received had they been at work.

4.4    The University shall agree to reasonable time off with pay for:

a)    initial basic training relevant to the duties of the accredited representative, which must be approved by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) or the relevant recognised trades unions as soon as possible after the accreditation of the representative;

b)    further training relevant to the duties of the accredited representative, which must be approved by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) or the relevant recognised trades unions, where the representative has special responsibility or where there are changes in the subject or topics of negotiation or legislative change which affect employee relations issues between the University and the relevant recognised trades unions;

c)    attendance at a relevant regional or national conference where the University has agreed to a request from a trades union for a representative to attend;

d)    requests for time off for training or conference attendance should be made to the Deputy Director of Human Resources or in his absence the Director of Human Resources who will liaise with the appropriate line managers.

4.4.1    The trades unions shall be responsible for the fees and expenses involved in items set out in 4.4 a, b and c above. Reasonable notice of dates, times and duration must be given to the relevant line manager, who may consult with the appropriate officer within Human Resources and / or delegated representative.

4.5    The University and its recognised trade unions will follow the following process in the nomination of elected representatives and their accreditation by the University:

a)    Representatives shall be current employees of the University. Any variation to this may only be agreed by the Director of Human Resources;

b)    The appropriate trade union representative will notify the Director of Human Resources and Deputy Director of HR in writing, confirming the election of representatives as soon as practically possible after their election;

c)    If there are any possible reasonable hindrances identified which may affect an elected representative in being able to carry out their trade union duties then it is the responsibility of the University to resolve these hindrances in liaison with the representative’s trade union officer and the representative’s manager.  If there are grievances in relation to this process then these should be raised through the University’s Grievance Policy & Procedure;

d)    Following this process the Department of Human Resources will write to the trade union concerned confirming the accreditation by the University of the identified representatives and that they will be afforded all reasonable facilities in line with this Agreement;

e)    Details of the appointment and function of Union Health & Safety Representatives are set out within the Health and Safety Policies;

f)    The appointment and function of Union Learning Representatives will be in accordance with the process set out in Appendix 3 which is in line with section 168A of TULR(C)A (1992).

4.6    The recognition and facilities afforded by this agreement to any accredited representative shall be withdrawn in the event that:

a)    he or she resigns the trades union appointment for which the recognition and facilities had been granted;

b)    the trades union notifies the University in writing that the individual has ceased to be a representative of the trades union;

c)    the representative is no longer employed by the University.

4.7    Where an accredited representative of a recognised trade union has been elected at national level to the executive body or to office at regional level of a recognised trades union, time off will be subject to separate negotiation with that representative. All the relevant circumstances and operational requirements shall be taken into account. Where time off is granted, paragraph 4.4 will apply and whether to allow time off with pay shall be subject to separate negotiation with that representative.

4.8    In line with section 4 of the ACAS Code of Practice on Time off for Trade Union duties and activities accredited trade union representatives shall ask permission (both general and specific) of their line manager with as much notice as possible, to conduct their trade union duties and activities, prior to their occurrence, which should not be unreasonably refused. In the event of refusal, line managers will provide a written explanation of the reasons for refusal, if requested.

4.9    Members of recognised trade unions (as opposed to elected and accredited representatives) may request reasonable time off to take part in the collective activities of a recognised trade union (as set out in section 170 (1) of TULR(C)A 1992) including attending workplace meetings to discuss and vote on the outcome of negotiations with the University, meeting full-time officers to discuss issues relevant to the workplace, accessing the services of a Union Learning Representative and voting in union elections. Reasonable notice should be given before the time off is agreed but permission should not be unreasonably refused. Whether to allow such time off with pay shall be at the discretion of the Director of Human Resources or delegated representative.

4.10    The final decision over time off for trade union duties and activities rests with the Director of Human Resources or delegated representative.

4.11    Time off shall not be granted for trade union activities which themselves consist of industrial action.

4.12    Allocated time off for the recognised trade unions agreed at the time of this Agreement is as follows:

a)    UCU = 1FTE
b)    UNISON = 1FTE
c)    UNITE = 0.5FTE

In the event of exceptional organisational circumstances discussions will take place between parties with a view to agreeing a temporary increase in facility time.

4.13    To facilitate the taking of allocated time off the University will operate a system to backfill accredited trade union representatives up to the following time:

a)    UCU = 0.6FTE
b)    UNISON = 0.6FTE
c)    UNITE = 0.3FTE

In the event of exceptional organisational circumstances discussions will take place between the parties with a view to agreeing a temporary increase in facility time.
 
4.14    The budget for backfill will be held in Human Resources and will be used by departments to pay for cover for accredited trade union representatives released for trade union duties. It is for each of the trade unions with backfill funding to propose on which representatives this funding is allocated. 

4.15   For these accredited representatives proposed for backfill funding by their trade union the following approach should be taken:

1.     The Director of Human Resources or delegated representative will discuss the proposed allocation of backfill funding with the Head of Department for each representative for whom a backfill request has been made to determine the feasibility of utilising the funding.

2.    A total cost for the year should be detailed and checked with the appropriate accountant in the Department of Finance and Procurement.

3.    Where agreed the financial resources released for backfill to the representative’s department will be based on costs incurred which may or may not be based on the actual salary level of the individual being released.

4.16    Further information on communication facilities available to the trade unions is included in Appendix 4.

5    Agreed committees for information, consultation, negotiation & partnership working

5.1    There will be a Joint University Consultation & Negotiation Committee (JUCNC) established for consultation and negotiation in respect of collective matters within the remit of this agreement relating to employees of the University. The membership and functioning of this committee will be as set out in the attached JUCNC Terms of Reference (see attached Appendix 1).

5.2    There will be a Joint Academic Consultation & Negotiation Committee (JACNC) established for consultation and negotiation in respect of both collective and precedent individual matters that relate wholly and exclusively to staff within the Education and Research job family who are remunerated on salary scales negotiated through the Joint Negotiating Council for Higher Education Staff (JNCHES) at national level. The membership and functioning of this committee will be as set out in the attached JACNC Terms of Reference (see attached Appendix 2).

6.    Procedure for dealing with unresolved local issues and disputes

6.1    It is the mutually agreed aim of all parties to this agreement to work in partnership to resolve differences, using the consultation and negotiation processes set out in this document and to avoid disputes until all stages of this procedure have been exhausted.

6.2    This document sets out the processes for the consideration and resolution of differences in the form of collective issues which are within the remit of this agreement raised on behalf of members by their accredited representative of a recognised trade union.

6.3    Any individual complaint may be raised by the individual employee (with representation by their accredited trade union representative) in accordance with the University’s Grievance Policy & Procedure or other appropriate HR policy & procedure.

6.4    Any differences about the interpretation of this agreement should be referred to the Director of Human Resources or delegated representative and the appropriate nominated (and accredited) trade union representative in the first instance.

6.5    In the event of a failure to agree on a collective issue as set out in paragraph 6.2 above, the aim shall be to resolve the dispute internally and the stages to be followed should be:

  • Stage 1 – If an issue remains unresolved, it may be referred to the University Secretary or a Pro-Vice-Chancellor or the Deputy Vice-Chancellor.
  • Stage 2 – If the issue remains unresolved at Stage 1, it may be referred to the Vice-Chancellor.
  • Stage 3 – If the issue remains unresolved after Stages 1 and 2, it may be referred to an appropriate outside body (ACAS) with the agreement of both parties (as defined in section 6).

Any personnel involved directly in a dispute will not participate in the adjudication of the dispute at any of the stages.

6.6    Normally no more than 5 working days should elapse between the issue being raised under 6.4 above and Stage 1 and between Stages 1 and 2.  Normally no more than 10 working days should elapse between Stages 2 and 3.

6.7    It is agreed that until these procedures have been exhausted there shall be no stoppage of work or other form of industrial action and, when a change is at issue, that change shall not normally take place, i.e. the continuation of, (or reversion to) the practice or agreement which was in place before the changes which gave rise to the dispute will apply.  Except in very particular circumstances where the Vice-Chancellor believes the continuation of the status quo would have a serious, imminent, detrimental effect on health and safety or educational or financial operations of the University, when he or she shall take such action as considered appropriate.

7.    Termination and variation of agreement

7.1    The parties to this agreement reserve the right to terminate it by giving six months’ notice in writing.  Amendments may be made with the consent of the parties.

7.2    In accordance with the relevant provisions of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act (1992), the parties to this Agreement agree that it is not legally enforceable, nor will any conclusions reached by the committees within section 5 above constitute a legally binding obligation on the University or the recognised trade unions.

Confirmation of Agreement

This agreement replaces all previous Trade Union Facilities & Recognition Agreements between the parties and is effective from the date of the last signature dated below.

Signed

For the University                       Date

For UCU                                     Date

For UNISON                               Date

For UNITE                                  Date

June 2016

Review

To be reviewed 2 years after implementation date.