Joint committees and staff representation

Introduction to staff representation

The University's arrangements for informing and consulting employees are covered by an agreement with the recognised trade unions.

All members of University staff have the right, under the provisions of the 1992 Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act, to join any trade union of their choice for which they satisfy the membership requirements. The 1999 Employment Relations Act confirmed that all trade union members have the right of individual representation by their union if they are required to attend a formal disciplinary or grievance hearing.

The formal procedures allow for a member of staff to be accompanied at his or her request by a union representative, if a member, or by a colleague of his or her choice from within the University. It is also the University's normal custom and practice to permit a member of staff to be accompanied in situations outside the formal procedures, if he or she believes there is a need for this. Requests for such representation should be directed to the departmental administrator.

Membership of a trade union is not a condition of employment in the University. Participation in union activities within working hours is only permitted in accordance with the terms of any facilities agreement made by the University, the relevant national legislation, and with the consent of the head of department.

The University recognises three trade unions for the purposes of collective representation of separate University staff groups:

  • University and College Union (UCU) (previously known as the AUT): academic and academic related staff
  • Unite (previously known as Amicus): university support staff
  • Unison: university support staff

Any member of University staff is entitled to join any of the recognised trade unions (regardless of whether he or she belongs to the particular staff group for which that union is recognised), or any other trade union which is not formally recognised by the University, and will have access to individual representation by that union as a result. However, where the trade union is not recognised by the University in respect of the particular staff group to which the member belongs, then the union can only raise specific matters pertaining to the individual member and not issues of general concern. In such circumstances the University is not obliged to consult with the trade union over any matters which might affect that staff member.

Joint Committees

Each of the recognised trade unions participates in regular, formal joint consultative committee meetings with the University on a termly basis to discuss issues of general relevance to the terms and conditions of the relevant staff group.