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Trade Unions

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 5 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether civil servants who are trades union officers in his Department are permitted to use (a) paid and (b) unpaid leave to engage in political activities. (191036)

Civil Servants in my Department who are trades union officers are provided with time off to undertake trade union duties through a facility agreement. The facility agreement does not provide for paid or unpaid leave to engage in political activities.

The extent to which a member of staff is permitted to use either paid or unpaid leave to engage in political activities is determined by whether their role is categorised as 'politically free' (broadly comprising all prison officer grades, industrial staff and operational support grades), 'politically restricted' (broadly comprising senior management grades) or 'intermediate' (broadly non-operational administrative staff and junior managers).

Subject to these conditions. Civil Servants in my Department may apply for either paid or unpaid time off to engage in political activities. Regulations regarding political activities are contained in the staff handbook and apply to all staff, including those engaged in trade union activities.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Chichester, of 18 February 2008, Official Report, column 205W, on trades unions, whether those recognition agreements permit employees of his Department to take (a) paid and (b) unpaid leave to undertake political officer duties for those unions. (191049)

Trade Union recognition agreements in my Department do not include regulation of political activities, which are covered by the staff handbook.