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NUJ example model agreement on training and learning

  1. Preamble
    1. This agreement is between The National Union of Journalists, hereinafter known as "the NUJ", and (insert name of organisation) hereinafter known as "the employer".
    2. Both the employer and the NUJ are committed to working in partnership to promote and support lifelong learning and ensure equal access to learning opportunities.
    3. Both parties will encourage full-time and part-time staff, contracted casuals and freelances to take up learning activities.
    4. Both parties are committed to providing the highest possible standards of education and training available that best meet the needs and interests of NUJ members.
  2. Union Learning Advisors
    1. The NUJ will be responsible for recruiting Union Learning Advisors (ULAs) and will inform management of the names and workplaces/departments of the ULRs.
    2. The number of ULRs will be (insert number).
    3. The functions of the ULRs should cover
      • Analysing and assessing learning or training needs and interests of NUJ members, including those related to journalism skills, to communication and management proficiency and to NUJ members other learning interests not directly related to their current employment. This work will include keeping of records of learning requirements and drawing up plans to meet those identified requirements.
      • Providing information and advice about learning or training matters, including building up a database of training and learning opportunities available, signposting members to courses and training available.
      • Arranging learning and training, including working with the employer to organise in-house training where appropriate and liaising with local and national training providers to develop training to meet identified needs or interests.
      • Promoting the value of learning and training, including through the employer's in-house communications vehicles (staff newsletters etc), the NUJ chapel's communications and by organising special events when necessary.
      • To learn from best practice in the region and among media companies nationally by attending local and national ULR forums, workshops and conferences.
    4. Paid time off will be granted to ULRs to enable them to carry out their duties effectively and freelance cover will be provided when necessary. (You may have to negotiate over the amount of time off that is reasonable and when that time off can be taken. Try to achieve a list of exclusions with the least number you can, for example: The ULR will not take time of in the four hour ahead of press deadlines)
    5. Paid time off will be granted to ULRs, and freelance cover will be provided, to enable the ULRs undertake training. Initial training, which will be an NUJ- or TUC-approved course, will take place as soon as possible after appointment. ULRs will be expected to remain up to date through continuing training and knowledge sharing throughout their period as a ULR and time off for attending such events will also be paid time off, including freelance cover when needed.
    6. The employer will make available suitable facilities to enable the ULRs to do their job e.g. offices space, filing cabinets, stationery, telephone, access to electronic equipment including e-mail, notice boards etc.
  3. Members accessing ULRs and learning opportunities
    1. All NUJ members, including freelances, will be entitled to paid time off to participate in promotional events and to access their ULR. (You may again need to negotiate specific times or, even better, just a list of excluded times. Some groups of members may have to have different times, for example: Weekly sub-editors may access their ULR on the day after press day – make sure freelances are not excluded.)
    2. Members attending identified and approved training will be entitled to paid time-off to attend. The employer will engage freelance cover when necessary.
  4. Dispute resolution
    1. In the event of any disputes about paid time off for the ULR under the ACAS Code of Practice on Time off for Trade Union Duties and Activities, or over paid time off for NUJ members accessing their ULR or learning opportunities identified as a result of ULR activity, either the employer or the NUJ may invoke the collective grievance procedure. (If you don't have a collective grievance procedure you will need to include a procedure here. This should include local meeting with the M/FoC, failing that a meeting with more senior management and the NUJ organiser attending, failing that top brass and the General Secretary.)
  5. Training and Learning Committee
    1. A company-wide training and learning committee will be established no later than four months from this agreement. (Make it as soon or as long after as you can cope with, but any longer than six months doesn't make you look very interested)
    2. The training and learning committee will comprise of equal numbers of NUJ and employer advisors. (If there are other unions in the building you may have to share but you should have equal numbers of employer and union members
    3. The training and learning committee will report progress to the (name the relevant negotiating committee/management and NUJ committees).
    4. The training and learning committee will be entitled to co-opt / invite person(s) to meetings when necessary.
    5. The responsibilities of the training and learning committee will be agreed at the inaugural meeting and will include
      • Identifying the learning needs and interests of NUJ members and the employer through regular learning needs analysis
      • Prioritising learning needs
      • Managing the budget for training
      • Developing in-house training and links with external training providers
      • Setting and monitoring the standards for all training provided
      • Ensuring equal access to training and learning for all employees
    6. The training and learning committee will also draw up a training and learning plan covering:
      • Targets and achievement goals for training provision within the company/division
      • Monitoring the amount and timing of paid time off for training
      • Arrangements for extended time-off for training, such as sabbaticals, summer schools, and short courses –including the provision of freelance cover for any positions temporarily vacated
      • Financial contributions to employee development, such as course fees for evening classes and part-time study
      • Access to workplace learning centres and online learning facilities
    7. The training and learning committee will meet once a month (or as agreed by a meeting) to carry out the tasks as identified by this agreement.
    8. A Chairperson and Secretary will be appointed at the first meeting of the joint LPC, and once a year thereafter, to facilitate the future meetings of the committee.
    9. The training and learning committee will:
      • Make every effort to ensure that when any learning takes place the specific needs of individual employees are taken into account
      • Ensure that ULRs are given the opportunity to take suitable training enabling them to offer support, advice and guidance to their members and work with the employer to introduce a learning culture into the workplace
      • Assist the individual employees/ULRs to make informed choices in regards to learning programmes giving those concerned the ability to secure the maximum benefits possible from the opportunities available.
  6. Limits to this agreement
    1. The employer undertakes that this agreement will not be used as an alternative to collective bargaining with the trade union and agrees to maintain and use existing procedures and arrangements other than those specified in this agreement.
    2. The employer also undertakes that any learning needs analysis will be used solely for educational and learning purposes and will not be used in relation to other issues such as pay, performance appraisal, redundancy or disciplinary procedures.