Trade Unions

Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 30th March 2010.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Robert Syms Robert Syms Conservative, Poole

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how many days staff of his Department and its agencies spent on trade union activity in the latest year for which figures are available; and what recent estimate he has made of the annual cost to the public purse of such activity.

Photo of Pat McFadden Pat McFadden Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

This Department currently employs 3.0 full time departmental trade union side officers at an approximate cost of £90,000.

Across BIS, approximately 100 people have facilities time arrangements. The majority of these are very small allocations. It is not possible to provide figures for this except at disproportionate cost.

I have approached the chief executives of the Insolvency Service, Companies House, the National Measurement Office and the Intellectual Property Office and they will respond to the hon. Member directly.

Letter from Gareth Jones, dated 16 March 2010:

I am replying on behalf of Companies House to your Parliamentary Question tabled 1 March 2010, UIN 320618 to the Minister of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.

In the financial year 2009-10 Trade Union representatives used a total of 229.5 days facility time at an estimated cost of £19,350.00.

The facility time granted to Trade Union representatives in Companies House is in line with the ACAS Code of Practice "Time off for Trades Union Duties and Activities".

Letter from Stephen Speed, dated 9 March 2010:

The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has asked me to reply to your question regarding how many days staff in The Insolvency Service spent on trade union activity in the latest year for which figures are available, and any estimate of the annual cost to the public purse of this activity.

The number of recorded days that staff in The Insolvency Service spent on trade union activity from 1st April 2008 to 31st March 2009 was 122.93 (full-time equivalent). It should be noted that this figure is likely to be an under-estimate. Some staff that are not trade union officials but are trade union members, may engage in trade union activities e.g. attendance at officially sanctioned trade union meetings, for which no central records are kept. Additionally, the figure excludes any management involvement in trade union activities e.g. attendance at Whitley meetings (the main employee relations communication and consultation forum with trade unions).

I am unable to provide any estimate of the annual cost to the public purse of trade union activity, as this would incur disproportionate cost.

Letter from John Alty, dated 3 March 2010:

I am responding in respect of the Intellectual Property Office to your Parliamentary Question tabled 01 March 2010, to the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

There were 255 days of allowed staff time spent on trade union activity in the Intellectual Property Office in 2008/09. This came at a cost of approximately £58,000 based on the average cost of the staff involved.

Letter from Peter Mason, dated 11 March 2010:

I am responding in respect of the National Measurement Office (NMO) to your Parliamentary Question asking the Minister of State, Department of Business, Innovation and Skills how many days staff of his Department and its agencies spent on trade union activity in the latest year and what recent estimate he has made of the annual cost to the public purse of such activity.

The National Measurement Office (NMO) is part of the Partnership Agreement with the Cabinet Office and the Council of Civil Service Unions (CCSU) and also the Joint Agreement between the Permanent Secretary and the constituent Trade Unions FDA, PCS and Prospect. Under the Agreement and through the Departmental Whitley Council, NMO affords facility time to those members of staff acting as Accredited Officials up to a maximum of 25 days a year paid special leave (40 days for members of the National Executive). Time off for union activities has to be agreed and all time is recorded on the Agency time recording system. Under the Agreement on Facilities for Industrial Relations Activities and Trade Union Activities members may be granted reasonable paid time off for specific union activities as laid out in the agreement and we follow the ACAS Code of Practice "Time off for Trades Union Duties and Activities".

The relevant time recording system was introduced in April 2009 and data is therefore available only for the 11 months to end February 2010. During that period, 9.5 days (66.56 hours) have been credited for union activities. As individual members are from different grades, it is not possible to provide a cost in the time allocated for the reply.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes0 people think so

No0 people think not

Would you like to ask a question like this yourself? Use our Freedom of Information site.