PLANS by East Ayrshire council to cut trade union facility time of local representatives have been slammed by The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS).

The local authority has written to the EIS Local Association Secretary who have said the council is “unilaterally” altering a long-standing agreement for the provision of facility time for trade union duties, including a reduction in the time available for East Ayrshire Representatives to represent the interests of their members on national EIS Committees.

Last week, the EIS East Ayrshire Executive passed a Motion, recording its view that the council’s actions are a direct attack on the current arrangements for trade union facility time.

EIS East Ayrshire also believes that this is a deliberate attempt to undermine the effectiveness of EIS elected representatives involved in the work of the national executive and salaries committee a critical time in national negotiations.

EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, “This is a deeply disappointing action by East Ayrshire Council, which represents a deliberate attack on trade union activity in breach of the Scottish Government supported Fair Work Convention. The provision of facility time for trade union duties is a long-established principle of fair work practice, which allows trade union representatives to deliver many benefits to members and, indeed, to employers. East Ayrshire Council’s actions, in seeking to unilaterally rewrite this long-standing agreement, bring shame on the authority.”

Mr Flanagan added, “At this year’s Scottish Trades Union Congress, the First Minister herself stood up and said that facility time should be respected and honoured in the public sector. It is, therefore, even more disappointing that East Ayrshire Council is now flouting that commitment, as well as the Fair Work Convention. Given that the East Ayrshire EIS Reps being targeted are elected members of important national EIS Committees, East Ayrshire Council’s actions could be viewed as an attempt to inhibit the work of the union nationally during an important period of pay negotiations.”