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Staff Union Duties

Volume 403: debated on Tuesday 8 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many staff in his Department, agencies and non-departmental public bodies receive paid leave to undertake union duties; how many days they are allocated; and what has been the cost to public funds in 2002. [106768]

The Employment Protection Act 1975 gave trade union officials a statutory right to reasonable paid time off from employment to carry out trade union duties. In the Civil Service, since April 1996, department and agencies have been given the freedom to set their own levels of facility time and make other facilities available to their trade union accredited representatives.

In accordance with Departmental Facilities Agreements between the Home Office and recognised trade unions, 63 union representatives in the Home Office and its agencies receive up to 100 per cent. paid leave to undertake union duties. A further 820 accredited representatives are allocated 25 days a year to spend on union duties and 16 are allocated 40 days a year. Related costs in 2002 amounted to approximately £4,759,000.

The Department values the constructive working relationships with the trade unions which provide an efficient means of involving staff at all levels in shaping and delivering our aims.