Frequently asked questions

Here is a list of the things we get asked about on a regular basis:

  • Can I get help if I am not a unison member Open or Close

    Unfortunately we cannot represent anyone who is not a member, becoming a member is simple, have a look at our 'join us' section to find out more.

  • As an elected Trade Union Official, am I entitled to time off with pay to carry out my duties Open or Close

    Trade Union officials, including Shop Stewards, Staff Reps, and Branch secretaries, have the right to time off with pay, to carry out trade union duties. (section 168 TULRCA)

  • How do I request time off Open or Close

    Trade union representatives should always seek permission from their line manager, prior to taking time off, and should submit a "Facility Time Off" request form to the Branch secretary, who will forward such to the appropriate Manager.

  • What if my employer refuses reasonable time off to carry out my duties Open or Close

    In the first instance, if you are refused reasonable time off to undertake your duties, please refer to the Branch secretary, who will seek to discuss the issues with the relevant line manager.

    Remember it would not be reasonable to keep refusing time off due to staff shortages etc.

    Barnes v Scarborough Hospital Trust [1996] found that it was not reasonable for an employer to continually refuse requests for time off due to short staffing

    If an employer refuses a right to time off in circumstances where it would have been reasonable to provide the right, the union representative can take a claim to an Employment tribunal. The ET can award financial compensation, even in cases where the representative has not incurred any financial loss. (EAT/0763/03 [2005] IRLR 459)

  • What are Trade Union Duties Open or Close

    Trade Union Duties are those concerned with negotiation with the employer over what are termed "section 178 (2)" matters (terms and conditions, recruitment, suspension, dismissal, work allocation, discipline and grievance, union membership, time off facilities and procedures, negotiation and consultation, collective bargaining). Alternatively, with the employers agreement, they can be for functions related to these matters but which are not within the scope of negotiations.

    If you wish to apply for any other time off, this will need to be agreed with the Branch Secretary, Line manager and HR.

  • Am I entitled to time off for training Open or Close

    Trade Union Officials have the right to time off for training , if related to "section178(2)" as listed above. This right is qualified by the words "reasonable in all the circumstances"

    The ACAS code of practice on Time off for trade union duties and activities gives examples of reasonableness.

  • Do Union Learning Reps have the right to Time of with Pay Open or Close

    Union Learning Reps also have the right to a reasonable amount of paid time off to carry out their duties.

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