Union learning representatives (ULRs) have been instrumental in championing the importance of training and development. ULRs work very hard to boost the image and strengthen the organisation of their union within the workplace. They can help widen union membership across the board and in underrepresented groups such as migrant workers.
The effectiveness of ULRs depends very much on the training they receive from the TUC or their union. Under the Employment Act 2002, the ULR needs to be sufficiently trained to carry out his/her duties either at the time of their notice of appointment or in normal situations within six months of the appointment. In order to carry out their role, ULRs in recognised workplaces have a statutory right to paid time off to train.
If union members want to be ULRs, they should first discuss it with their union branch or shop steward committee, or their full-time officer. All ULRs are given training for their role through courses provided by TUC Education and individual unions. The TUC Education courses are all accredited through the National Open College Network.
The ULR role involves:
- Promoting the value of learning
- Supporting learners
- Arranging learning/training
- Supporting workplace learning centres to embed learning in the workplace
Functions and rights of a ULR:
- ULR statutory functions
- Statutory rights for ULRs and union members
- How to secure recognition and paid time off
- Establish formal learning agreements to embed learning in the workplace
To find out more about ULR courses offered through TUC Education, see the list of unionlearn courses.
Working for Learners – a handbook for unions and their union learning representatives
Working for learners is a major source of information and advice for trade unions and their representatives who are or want to become ULRs.