Our workplace learning representatives are accredited union reps and are there to support members with their professional and personal learning and use the learning agenda to build and strengthen the NEU through organising, reaching out to non-members and supporting union policy and campaigns.
What does a workplace learning rep do?
- Identify learning needs of members
- Work with management to improve access and quality of current provision
- Develop a trade union approach to learning and recognise sources of support
- Listen to members concerns on learning
- Promote CPD opportunities
- Involve members in the NEU through learning and CPD
- Using learning to organise in the workplace
Being a workplace learning rep offers the opportunity to:
- Get involved in the NEU
- Use learning to support members in the workplace
- Build and strengthen the NEU though the learning agenda
- Recruit non-members
- Support union policy and campaigns
Legal rights of workplace learning reps
The 2002 Employment Act introduced statutory rights to time off for union appointed workplace learning representatives to carry out their duties and to attend training. The new provisions came into force in April 2003, as did a revised Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) code of practice which included guidance on their practical application. These rights include:
- reasonable paid time off to train as a WLR
- reasonable paid time off to carry out the duties of a WLR
In addition, the Code of Practice recommended that:
- reasonable time off should also be considered for further training to help Union WLRs develop their skills and competencies.
- it may be helpful if WLRs attended meetings concerned with agreeing and promoting learning agreements.
- employers may also see it in their interests to grant paid time off for WLRs to attend meetings with external partners concerned with the development and provision of workforce training.
- recognition be given to the varying roles of WLRs where the post holder also undertakes additional duties as a union representative.
The functions for which time off as a WLR is allowed are:
- analysing learning or training needs
- providing information and advice about learning or training matters
- arranging learning or training
- promoting the value of learning or training
- consulting the employer about carrying on any such activities
- preparation to carry out any of the above activities
- undergoing relevant training.
In practice, your role and responsibilities as a WLR will vary depending on your workplace but the expectation is that you will carry out at least one or more of the above functions.
Rights of Members
The legislation also gives union members an entitlement to unpaid time off to consult their workplace learning representative, as long as the union is recognised in their workplace.