CHS South buys into the Manchester Local Authority Trade Unions Facilities Arrangements (TUFA) Service Level Agreement (SLA).
The purpose of the Trade Unions Facilities Arrangements (TUFA) is to aid and improve the effectiveness of relationships between employers and Trade Unions. Employers and Unions have a joint responsibility to ensure that agreed arrangements work to mutual advantage both employer and Trade Union representatives by specifying how reasonable time off for union duties, activities and training will work.
The arrangements cover the need for Trade Unions to be involved and consulted on overarching school issues as well as city wide issues covering all schools. In addition to this, there are local Trade Union representatives and Health and Safety representatives in schools dealing with local issues.
What is covered in the SLA?
Under the current TUFA SLA, school staff are supported in the following ways:
- The SLA provides for a number of teaching staff in Manchester schools to be released from their school to act as Union Representatives to support teachers in all contributing schools in the City. These teachers and Head Teachers represent the NEU, ASCL, NASUWT, and NAHT which are the main unions recognised by Manchester City Council. The school is reimbursed to cover the cost for replacing / providing cover for the release of teachers undertaking Union duties in Manchester Schools.
- Manchester City Council employees act as union representatives in support of non-teaching staff in Manchester schools. These employees represent Unison, Unite and GMB. The host department are reimbursed to cover the cost for replacing / providing cover for the release of employees undertaking Union duties in Manchester Schools.
- The Director of Education and the Executive Member for Schools meet regularly with all recognised Trade Unions in order to consult and share information about city wide issues such as place planning, school funding and places, staff benefits, policies, pay and grading and strike action.
- The SLA is managed centrally by the finance team reducing the administration costs and impact on individual school resources.
- The statutory requirement to report on time off for Trade Union Representatives is managed by the Council.
If the Trade Union Facilities Arrangements were not to be administered by the Local Authority through the SLA, it would mean that each individual school would need to make local arrangements to cover the cost of Trade Union Facilities directly from their budgets and arrange the release / cover of local representatives to support employee disputes, trade union negotiation and collective bargaining, negotiation of pay, terms and conditions, representation over health and safety matters and union representatives training.
The benefits of this arrangement include:
- Ensures that schools fulfil the statutory requirements to provide a right to representation in formal processes and collective consultations.
- Enabling the school to plan for the absence of the teacher from the classroom who are released for Trade Union duties.
- Schools are aware of representatives’ availability.
- Greater flexibility and capacity to respond to issues.
- Maintains good employee relations.
- More effective way of consulting on and responding to local authority wide school issues.
- Provides a fair system in respect of both time and costs for all school.
- Highly trained and specialised union representatives available to provide representation.
The current arrangements allow experienced Trade Union representatives who understand the local context to deal with issues arising within schools, without necessarily being a member of staff of the particular school. They also allow Trade Union representatives to seek to resolve problems at an early stage, often informally.
All Academy Nursery and Special Schools are eligible to access the TUFA SLA at the same per pupil rate: £6.14.