When the full council signed off the budget in February 2011 it contained a promise to cut union facility time, paid time to allow union reps to do union business, by 20% in 2012/13 (see page 178 of the budget signed off at full council on 22nd March 2012 here).
The same budget cut a number of frontline services, such as envirocrime officers and park rangers, in half in 2011/12. The one year delay compared to the cuts in frontline services was justified in terms of the union reps having a role in managing the process of re-organisation from the staff side.
In answering the question, see below, I asked at the last council meeting (question number 12, here) the council has revealed that the facility time budget will remain flat in the current financial year. There is no explanation of why the Labour administration has quietly changed its mind. Is the Labour administration frightened to take on the unions? Has it already agreed to back off? Will Labour tell us what it proposes to do about the Â£250,000 per annum a year that the council spends on union reps doing union business?
Could the portfolio holder state:
Facility time budget in 2011/12. Also breakdown teaching/non-teaching.
Facility time spend in 2011/12. Also breakdown teaching/non-teaching.
Facility time budget in 2012/13. Also breakdown teaching/non-teaching.
Names of staff and union along with % of their time spent on facility time during 2011/12.
The total facility time awarded to teacher union reps in 2010-11 was
2.5 fte. That equates to 15 days per week split among the teacher unions and professional associations. This figure would normally be 2.3 fte (or 13 days per week) but an additional 0.2 fte (or 1 day) was granted to the NUT as their local secretary was elected onto the NUT national executive.
The cost of this for the year was Â£146,700.
UNISON = 10 Days split between 2 people
GMB= 5 Days split between 3 people
The cost of this for the year was Â£105,000
It is anticipated that this arrangement will remain as in for 2012/2013.
The council is currently discussing reductions in facilities time with the trade unions. Reductions in trade union facility time form part of the administrations saving plans.