Facility time by Scottish Government trade union representatives: 2017-2018

Use of facility time by recognised Scottish Government trade union representatives between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018.

Facility time report

Relevant trade union officials

Number of employees who were relevant trade union officials during the period between 1 April 2017 and 31 July 2018 FTE employee number
115 111.25

Percentage of time spent on facility time

How many employees who were trade union representatives employed during the relevant period spent a) 0%, b) 1%-50%, c) 51%-99% or d) 100% of their working hours on facility time:

Percentage of time Number of representatives
0% 56
1-50% 52
51%-99% 0
100% 7

Percentage of pay bill spent on facility time

Percentage of the total pay bill spent on paying employees who were relevant trade union officials for facility time during the period between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018:

Total cost of facility time £476,589
Total pay bill £355,772,220
Percentage of the total pay bill spent on facility time 0.13%

Paid trade union activities

As a percentage of total paid facility time hours, how many hours were spent by employees who were relevant trade union officials during the period between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018 on paid trade union activities:

Time spent on paid trade union activities as a percentage of total paid facility time hours 31.62%
  • Note: This is the first year of collecting this data and we believe that a number of our trade union representatives may have incorrectly categorised employee relations duties as trade union activities thus artificially inflating this figure in our return. Ensuring that there is clear understanding of the different definitions between employee relations duties and trade union activities is something that we will seek to put in place over the coming year.

The Scottish Government is committed to working in partnership with our recognised trade unions (Public and Commercial Services Union; Prospect; FDA, Unite and Nautilus International). The figures supplied in the tables above cover staff employed in the Scottish Government Main bargaining unit and the Scottish Government Marine bargaining unit as listed below.

Scottish Government Main Bargaining Unit

  • Director General Economy (except Marine Scotland Compliance offshore staff)
  • Director General Scottish Exchequer
  • Director General Health and Social Care
  • Director General Education, Communities and Justice
  • Director General Constitution and External Affairs
  • Director General Organisational Development and Operations
  • Accountant in Bankruptcy
  • Disclosure Scotland
  • Education Scotland
  • Scottish Housing Regulator
  • Scottish Public Pensions Agency
  • Student Awards Agency for Scotland
  • Transport Scotland
  • National Records of Scotland
  • Revenue Scotland
  • Food Standards Scotland

Scottish Government Marine Bargaining Unit

Director General Economy: Marine Scotland Compliance (offshore staff).

There are 8,178 staff employed in the two bargaining units. The number of trade union representatives is therefore 1.4 % of the total number of staff covered by the bargaining arrangements.

The Scottish Government believes that a partnership approach to employee relations is at the heart of ensuring we are a fairer, more successful employer. Facility time provides a framework for constructive consultation and negotiation with trade unions, ensuring the effective voice of workers and improving workplace relations. It is an investment in the prevention of workplace disputes, providing savings to both the public sector and the public purse, through a reduction of negative impacts on staff time and the number of working days lost through industrial action. In addition, involving the trade unions as partners contributes to our success and the well-being of our employees and facility time is an essential part of achieving this.

Facility time statement

The Value of facility time

Facility time generates benefits for employees, managers and the wider community from effective joint working between union representatives and employers.

A number of studies have shown that union workplaces tend to be safer and that trade unions help to promote skills and training in workplace. The Scottish Government recognises this through our support for trade union learning and equality initiatives, including: Scottish Union Learning, Close the Gap, Fair Work Convention, Partnership Working in the NHS and revised governance arrangements for Higher Education.

The NatCen study highlighted four main benefits from the use of facility time:

  • provision of a ready-made structure for meaningful consultation and negotiation saves money and reassures members that their views are valued in decision-making

  • facilitation of partnership working with trade unions improves workplace relations and the reputation of an employer as 'a good place to work'

  • earlier intervention in relation to complaints, grievances and disciplinary action prevents escalation into more serious problems and saves organisations (and taxpayers) money by reducing the impact on staff time and possible legal costs

  • better communication during restructuring and redundancy processes improves understanding of decisions, minimises negative impacts and reduces the number of working days lost through industrial action

The Fair Work Convention highlights these points through its 'Effective voice' principle. As they state: "It is clear from international evidence that employees and workers want a voice, not only to resolve problems and conflicts (which is important) but also to engage and participate constructively in organisations."

On organisational change, they say: "There are many examples in Scotland and elsewhere of how collective voice through trade unions working with employers has addressed a wide range of organisational challenges and contributed to organisational improvements."

It is the view of the Scottish Government that facility time data legally required by the Trade Union (Facility Time Publication Requirements) Regulations 2017, should be set in the context of the vast benefits that facility time bring to the workforce and to the employer, as set out above. This is supported by the Scottish Government, the STUC and our affiliated trade unions.

Leslie Evans, Permanent Secretary

Malcolm Clark, Chair, Council of Scottish Government Unions

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