Issue date
Wales TUC warmly welcomes an important statement from the Welsh Government on the vital importance of facility time for trade union activity in the public sector.

In an unprecedented letter to the chief executives of devolved public bodies, Hannah Blythyn, the Deputy Minister for Social Partnership said:

“The Welsh Government considers the benefits of facility time to be far-reaching and include:

• Assisting the early identification and resolution of issues.

• Enhancing employee engagement and collaborative workplace cultures.

• Supporting health and safety and reducing the risk of work-related injuries and occupational illnesses.

• Aiding training and workforce learning and development.

• Facilitating effective negotiation processes.

“I urge you to keep these benefits in mind when taking decisions on facility time and expect that you will discuss and agree any changes with your trade unions.

“Difficult times such as we currently face should deepen our commitment to social partnership and shared decision-making rather than undermine relationships between employers and trade unions.”

Trade union facility time and facilities are the time and resources (access to ICT and accommodation etc.) that unions negotiate from employers so that they are able to represent members both individually and collectively in negotiations with managers.

Trade unions had raised concerns with Welsh Ministers that some public bodies planned to cut facility time for trade unions, despite the importance of their role.

Union representatives have had a statutory right to reasonable paid time off to carry out trade union duties since 1975, and most of the current provisions come under the Trade Unions and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, introduced by the then Conservative government.

Guidance on the practical application of these provisions is provided in the recently revised ACAS Code of Practice: Time Off for Trade Union Duties and Activities.