Opinion Former Article

Time to train is a 'fundamental workplace right'

The statutory right to time out of work for training for trade union representatives is a fundamental workplace right that must be protected, the Annual Conference of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, has heard today.

Representatives raised concerns over the increasing attacks by governments, administrations and employers on this provision.

There are equal concerns expressed by teachers more generally about the lack of guaranteed access to continuing professional development.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“It is ironic that in a service which is about education and the importance of learning so little value is placed by employers on training and development of their workforce.

“Trained trade union representatives are an asset in the workplace to employers as well as to the staff they represent. There are statutory provisions governing time to train, but regrettably too many employers believe they are above the law and seek to use every opportunity to allow representatives to access the training.

“The failure to facilitate trade union training mirrors, however, the failure of too many employers to provide access to other training and development for their workforce.

“Unlike many other professions where training and development are a contractual entitlement, teachers are denied these opportunities but are still expected to implement effectively major change and develop their practice.

“Successive education ministers have talked about the importance of CPD for teachers but once again have failed to do anything to make it happen. Until teachers have a contractual entitlement to access development and training nothing will change.”

ENDS

NASUWT Press Office contacts:
Ben Padley 07785 463 119
Lena Davies 07867 392 746
Sarah Cull 07920 711 069

Notes to editors
The NASUWT’s Annual Conference is being held at the ICC in Belfast from 19-21 April.

The full text of the motion is below:

CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND TIME OFF FOR TRAINING
Conference asserts that the statutory right to time off for training for trade union representatives is a fundamental workplace right that must be protected.

Conference is deeply concerned that the right to time off for trade union training is under attack by governments, administrations and employers.

Conference is further deeply concerned by the lack of guaranteed access for members to continuing professional development (CPD).

Conference supports the National Executive in campaigning for:
(i)         a statutory contractual entitlement to CPD for all teachers and school leaders and
(ii)         action against those employers that attempt to breach elected representatives’ rights to time off for training.
(Executive)

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