Trade Union Bill

Written evidence submitted by the City of Wolverhampton Council (TUB 15)

1.0 Background

The City of Wolverhampton Council would like to comment on the following in response to the Trade Union Bill (2015-16);

- Facility Time: Time off for Union Reps to support members. This is currently locally negotiated and agreed at the City of Wolverhampton Council.

- Deduction of Contribution at Source. An established system for the payment of trade union subscription from employees’ salaries is effectively in place at the City of Wolverhampton Council.

2.0 Considerations and Implications

2.1 The City of Wolverhampton Council recognises the positive contribution that trade unions and trade union members make in our workplaces. We value the constructive relationship that we have with our trade unions and we recognise their commitment, and the commitment of all our employees, to the delivery of good quality public services.

2.2 There is concern that the introduction and implementation of the Trade Union Bill could affect the positive and constructive relationship this council has with our trade unions and inevitably our workforce.

2.3 Facility Time: The City of Wolverhampton Council has a jointly agreed and negotiated Trade Union Time off and Facility Agreement which supports and compliments our commitment to resolve employee relations and workplace issues through discussion and agreement.

2.4 It is our belief that trade union and facility arrangements should be agreed locally in order to remain responsive to the particular needs of each employer and support local employee relations strategies. Earlier intervention in relation to complaints, grievances and disciplinaries preventing escalation into more serious problems; thereby saving the council money by reducing the impact on staff time and potential legal costs.

2.5 Deduction of Contribution at Source: We have effective methods in place for deducting trade union membership subscriptions through Deduction of Contributions at Source (DOCAS). We see this as an important part of our positive industrial relations and an effective system that supports our employees.

2.6 The potential ending of Deduction of Contributions at Source (DOCAS) in the public sector would be of concern to this council. Furthermore, savings with regard to the cessation of the administration of the deduction of union subscriptions would not be substantial as the transactional process is largely automated and well established and one of many pay deductions we process.

2.7 Trade unions already pay an approved 2.5% administration fee to the council, this forms part of our collective and contractual arrangements with the trade unions and one which this council will defend and support.

3.0 Conclusion

3.1 The City of Wolverhampton Council resolves to seek to continue its own locally agreed industrial relations strategy and will take every measure possible to maintain its autonomy with regard to facility time and the continuing use of check-off.

Councillor Roger Lawrence

Leader

City of Wolverhampton Council

October 2015

Prepared 14th October 2015