PCS has protested strongly against the DWP's decision not to allow a flexi credit for members to allow AGMs or mandating meetings, but we have not been able to persuade DWP to reverse the decision.
Instead DWP has reaffirmed that any time taken to attend AGMs in 2018 will not attract a flexi credit and that if members do attend they will not be paid.
There are a number of ways that branches can approach this situation. Some branches are planning AGMs out of works time, others intend to maximise the use of assumed consent. Another option is for members to apply for Trade Union Activities (TUA) time off.
Using Trade Union Activities to attend AGMs
The Employee Relations Framework is absolutely clear that time off work to attend local AGMs, branch AGMs and mandating meetings are all classed as TUA. But TUA time is always unpaid under the Employee Relations Framework.
So, if a member took, for example one hour TUA time to attend their branch AGM they would expect their pay to be deducted by one hour’s pay. PCS had been told by DWP Employee Relations that SOP had the capacity to deduct pay for periods of less than half a day. This information was communicated to branches in DWP/BB/131/17.
However PCS has since learnt that this information was incorrect and that SOP cannot in fact deduct pay for periods of less than half a day. So if a member took one hour’s TUA time to attend their Branch AGM they would not have that hour’s pay deducted as it is for a period of less than half a day
How pay is deducted for time taken as TUA
Time off taken as TUA accumulates. This means that if a member took one hour TUA to attend their branch AGM each year for the next four years, then, by the fourth year, they would have taken a total of four hours TUA time, assuming the employer continues to refuse to grant a flexi credit. Because four hours is a period of more than half a day the member would then expect that a half days pay would be deducted from their pay in year four.
Members can therefore use TUA to attend AGMs in 2018 without having pay deducted unless the time taken was greater than 3 hours 24/42, which is improbable.
Members should understand that they do need to seek prior management approval to use TUA to attend AGMs. We would expect this time off to be granted as the Employee Relations Framework says that union members may be allowed reasonable time off to attend trade union meetings.
Branches are encouraged to communicate this information to their members as a means of attending Local and Branch AGMs and Mandating Meetings.