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Jess Hurd/

Don't let the government cut union learning

In early October, the TUC received a letter from the Department for Education saying that ministers have decided to end the Union Learning Fund from March 2021. This is an astonishing and counterproductive decision – last year more than 200,000 learners got new skills through union learning.
Our objectives

The government's plans to cut the Union Learning Fund means hundreds of thousands of workers will miss out on an education in the workplace.

The government must reversed the decision and fully fund Union Learning 

Save union learning

For more than 20 years the Union Learning Fund has supported working people to access skills and training at work, through their unions.

Last year more than 200,000 learners got new skills through union learning. The government funding teaches people to read, write and use computers: last year 62,000 got basic English, maths and IT skills through union learning. And thousands got their first ever qualification.

Only unions, through our network of reps, have been able to reach these workers and help them get into learning. In the middle of the deepest recession of our lifetimes, this is not the time to cut skills and training.  The government must reverse this decision – and keep learners learning.

Find out more about union learning and how it supports national skills and economic priorities in our explainer page.

Actions you can take to support Union Learn:

1. Sign the petition 

Sign the petition calling on the government to reverse cuts to union learning and ensure working people can access education and skills training.

2. Share your story

We need stories from hundreds of people who've taken part in union learning, so we can show the government how important it is to workers, our families, and our communities.

3. Tell your MP to save Union Learning

Follow our link to a template email you can use to contact your MP, letting them know why it is important to save union learning, your voice matters.


Union learning – valued by employers

Employers rate union learning. It’s all about helping people get new skills for work and get the chance to get on in life. Nearly seven in ten employers said unions reach and inspire reluctant learners to engage in training.

Here are some employers who have publicly supported retaining the Union Learning Fund – many more have written privately to the education secretary:  

  • Tesco
  • Heathrow Airport
  • Tata Steel
  • British Steel
  • Arla Foods
  • Liberty Steel
  • Muller Milk and Ingredients Division
  • Milk&More

List correct as of 19 October 2020 – please email if you are an employer who would like to be added.

Download your campaign pack

The Save Union Learning campaign pack includes a selection of images and tweets for you to share on social media. Click on the images below.

Example tweets

"The govt's plans to cut the Union Learning Fund means hundreds of thousands of workers will miss out on skills and training.

The government must reverse its decision immediately.

Sign the petition. #SaveUnionLearning

"The government's plan to cut the Union Learning Fund means the future of people learning at work is at serious risk.

It's a crucial program for lifelong learners which provides education for workers.

We must #SaveUnionLearning - sign the petition now."

Promoting learning opportunities to colleagues at Blackpool Transport.
Sue Mann
I do every course that comes here, because how can I help somebody if I don’t know myself?
Sue Mann - Bus driver
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