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Union learning representatives: What do they do?

There are now more union learning representatives (ULRs) than ever before and the numbers keep on rising. In the year 2000, around 3,000 ULRs had been trained. The figure is currently 28,000 and growing all the time. But what are ULRs and what do they do?

ULRs are the driving force behind union learning, and are instrumental in helping to identify and deliver learning opportunities for union members, representatives and other professionals. They raise awareness of the value of lifelong learning, particularly for people who have had limited access to education in the past.

The role doesn't end with recruiting new members, and getting them involved in union learning or pairing them up with potential education providers. ULRs also support them throughout their learning programme, and represent them or negotiate on their behalf on all manner of learning issues.

ULRs are recognised as union representatives and have the same statutory rights as other union reps. They are allowed reasonable time off to train and perform their duties, and have protection against unfair dismissal on grounds of their ULR work.

Acas can help your organisation address and understand a range of issues surrounding Representation, and help you and your employee representatives develop negotiation skills. Visit Representation at work: how Acas can help for more information.

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