No, I would never describe trade union representatives as pointless. It is important that they are able to attend and support workers in grievance or disciplinary meetings. They do not have to be able to speak to support someone.
On giving practical effect to article 11 rights, let me turn to a matter that a number of hon. Members have raised: facility time for union representatives to carry out union activities. I agree that without facility time union representatives cannot carry out their trade union duties in relation to collective bargaining and related matters, and our trade union legislation provides for that. Where an independent union has been recognised by an employer for collective bargaining purposes, the employer is required to provide facility time to the union’s representatives and its members. Union representatives are entitled to paid time off to carry out their union duties as well as paid time off for training. That allows them to negotiate with the employer and carry out their functions in relation to matters covered by the collective bargaining agreement.