HomeNews MOTION: Trade Union Facility Time secondment proposal

MOTION: Trade Union Facility Time secondment proposal

Harrow UNISON LG Branch Annual General Meeting- 20 March 2013

Members will note with concern the Labour Council’s Medium Term Financial Savings (MTFS) requirement to cut the Trade Union (TU) Facilities budget by £30k on 1st April 2013 from £159k.  The current TU budget funds the time spent for UNISON & GMB representatives and their Branch Officers to undertake legally recognised TU duties, representing the interests of their members whilst funding union accommodation costs at Central Depot. 

Approximately £100k of this budget allocates facility time days for both unions which, at 13 days, is divided in proportion to each unions membership levels i.e. 9.5 days for UNISON and 3.5 days for GMB.  The cut will reduce each allocation to 6.5 days for UNISON and 2.5 for GMB leaving two unions servicing approximately 2,500 members on £70k.  Monetarily our proportion of the £30k saving equates to £22k.   

The reality of this cut is grim; the remainder of the TU Facilities budget (£59k) cannot, we are informed, be reduced because it composes rental charge costs leaving little room for manoeuvre having a direct impact on facility time.   Without action this will have a significant impact on the branch’s ability to challenge MTFS cuts, future restructures, 230 planned redundancies as well as having an impact on resources to support and represent our members.  The Branch can not and will not tolerate further cuts to facility time and in the February 2013 Branch Executive Committee meeting, the Committee resolved to investigate alternative accommodation options through either purchasing property or renting suitable alternative premises in the borough.   

UNISON Branch Officers have used all internal avenues in which to contest the cut and defend existing TU facility time budget arrangements but the Labour Portfolio Holder and Senior HR Officers remain intransigent having failed to listen or recognise the benefits that TU facility time has brought the Council.  The main benefits include; the achievement of a Collective Agreement saving the employer potentially damaging legal costs, significant training costs through the Branch’s supply of accredited training courses, savings on IT/stationery and postal costs and the significant added un-costed value the Branch has contributed to in terms of unpaid hours and in resolving corporate issues using collective bargaining through ready-made internal consultation structures. 

To enable the Branch sufficient time to investigate suitable accommodation proposals whilst mitigating the impact of facility time loss, this motion seeks AGM agreement to the following resolutions;


  • That Branch finances of £22k (equivalent to a H5 salary) be secured for one year to secure and fund a full time secondment from the Council to represent the interests of Harrow UNISON LG Branch


  • That a copy of this motion be sent to Tom Whiting, Assistant Chief Executive, to review senior staffing levels in the Human Resources Directorate to reflect the cut in the TU facility budget, considering the continuing use of Consultants and Associates in HRD in conjunction with significant staffing movements leaving the Authority i.e. outsource and redundancies


  • That a copy of this motion is sent to the Leader of the Council for urgent response


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