Newsthat the Government is to create and fund a TradeUnion Academyto train union representatives to university level has provoked a huge responsefrom the HR industry.Inthe last issue of Personnel Today,TUC president Roger Lyons exclusively revealed that the initiative would beannounced at the TUC Conference later this month and would be paid for by theunions and the Department for Education and Skills under the unionmodernisation fund. Hesaid the university-level academy would ensure that trade unionists were moreinformed and more professional. “I’mnot certain if employers put up the kind of people who can handle that,”he said.Thequestion posed on PersonnelToday.com – ‘Should the Government fund the trainingof union representatives?’ – attracted more than 3,000 votes. As 94 per centvoted ‘yes’, another question should perhaps be asked: ‘Was this an organisedcampaign by unionists?’DavidMarriott, regional learning officer for the East Midlandsbranch of the Public and Commercial Services Union, said: “Governmentfunding should be provided especially where reps are providing services toemployees (including non-members) that help to meet the Government’s agenda. “Thisis especially true in the arena of lifelong learning. Union learning reps areencouraging all employees to think about learning, often gaining the skillsthat help them to fill the gaps that have been identified as restricting theeconomic and industrial progress that growth depends on,” said Marriott.”Wherestatutory rights have been established in government departments, managersplace restrictions on our use of time and facilities. We are expected toproduce evidence of our work while being faced with these restrictions and lackof co-operation from the employer. “Governmentfunding for training should produce a greater number of reps to help provide alevel of service to our members, other employees and their employers. This inturn will boost the economic performance and efficiency of both public andprivate sector organisations.Oneunion official commented that it depended on how the programme was implemented.”Inprinciple I am for the training of union representatives,” she said.”But we have to carefully look at the process at appointing union reps. Most trade unions have a problem with the make up of [these]representatives. Black minority, ethnic, young and female members are often notelected as union reps.”Chris,a member of the Transport & General Workers’ Union,commented: “Due to the previous [Conservative] government and the womanwho was the head of it at one time, the unions lost a lot of their powers. Thisbenefited all these company bosses, because they are all conservative, andlined their pockets with more money at the expense of their employees. “Ifully back [the move to government-funded training], and the Government shouldgive unions back their powers as well, so these company bosses start treatingtheir employees like human beings and not robots.” However,an engineer at an aerospace company believes unions have the funds to pay theirown way. “Let’sbe straight,” he said, “it’s not theGovernment that would fund it, but the long-suffering taxpayer – us. Surely ifwe are paying enough in our union dues to pay for the likes of Derek Simpson tohave a expensive jolly like his helicopter trip to Glastonbury,then the union can quite easily afford the cost of training reps.”Anotherman e-mailed: “Union reps are a fundamental part of the workplace, and assuch they should receive the full backing of the Government, to enable them tofulfil their role to the best of their ability.”Apersonnel administrator in the medical sector said: “It is not right thattaxpayers fund this training of trade union representatives. This training is readilyavailable in all sorts of educational establishments and all reps have to do isapply.”ByMichael MillarLook out for your copy of Training MagazineTraining Magazine is published with thisedition of Personnel Today. TheSeptember issue features an interview with Chris Trinick,the proactive chief executive of Lancashire County Council, on why he has putmanagement development at the heart of the modernisation agenda. It also coversapprenticeships and the real impact of home-based learning. To subscribe visit www.reedbusiness.co.uk/products/training.asp Funding disquiet over union academy plansOn 7 Sep 2004 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed.