South West Trains

The Learning Agreement 25th May 2006







The Learning Agreement Partners


Scope of the Learning Agreement


The Learning Partnership Steering Committee


Union Learning Representatives


Trade Union Responsibility


Release and Pay Arrangements for Union Learning Training


Union Learning Representatives Key Functions - Release & Pay Arrangements


Employee Consultation with Union Learning Representatives


Release for Employees Attending Training Courses


Resolving Differences


Facilities for Union Learning Reps


Equal Opportunities & Equal Access


1 • Introduction

The Department of Education and Skills introduced a new role within trade unions named Union Learning Representatives (ULR). The intention of this new role is to promote learning. The main function of the ULR is to raise interest and awareness to employees of the benefits of learning, as well as promoting learning at work and encouraging employees to consider the benefits through explanation and helping them to understand what options are open to them. ULR's have the advantage of being able to communicate confidentially and more closely with South West Trains employees.

What is a Union Learning Representative & what are their duties?

A Union Learning Representative is an employee of the Company who is a member of a Trade Union recognised by South West Trains for collective bargaining purposes and appointed in accordance with the rules of their specific union.

The key functions of the ULR is to:

• promote the value of learning and personal development;

• analyse learning or training needs;

• arrange and support learning;

• provide information, advice, guidance and support about learning or training matters;

• consult with SWT about carrying out these activities;

• consult with the SWT Steering Committee;

• prepare for such related activities.

Union Learning Representatives, regardless by which trade union they are appointed, have a duty to actively support any employee undertaking learning irrespective of grade and trade union membership.

2. The Learning Partners

The partners to this Learning Agreement are South West Trains and the trade unions comprising: ASLEF, RMT & TSSA, the trade union partners being facilitated and supported by the Rail Union Learning Programme.

The Agreement is effective from 25th May 2006 and will be reviewed for effectiveness and amendments after one year. The partners may amend the agreement at any time subject to agreement.


Key aims of the partners:

South West Trains and the trade unions are committed to working in partnership to;

• Promote and support lifelong learning

• Encourage employees of South West Trains to participate in lifelong learning

opportun ities

• Provide access to learning opportunities

• Work with organisations and education providers to ensure a successful partnership

• Distinguish between learning (personal development) and workforce development (job training)

• Maintain learning centres within the workplace.

The partners acknowledge the benefits of using professional and fully trained providers.

A joint statement of the partnership aims and objectives will be displayed in the workplace.

3. Scope of the Learning Agreement

The Learning Agreement applies to all employees of South West Trains.

The Learning Agreement arrangements are freestanding from agreed collective bargaining procedures.

Participation by employees is voluntary and partners will actively encourage their employees/members to fully participate in all learning opportunities and initiatives.

4. The Learning Partnership Steering Committee

The SWT Union Learning Steering Committee, comprising of representatives of SWT and each trade union, will work in partnership with the intention of determining, developing, implementing and monitoring learning initiatives for employees and Union Learning Representatives. The Chairperson of the Learning Partnership Steering Committee (LPSq will alternate annually; one year a representative of SWT, the next year a representative of the Trade Unions.


The Learning Partnership Steering Committee will comprise of:

• Representatives of South West Trains who will appoint at least one senior member of its management team so that the committee is able to take effective decisions

• Representatives of the trade unions comprising one nominated company council representative for each of the trade union partners, each supported by one nominated representative (the nominated representative will normally be an appointed Lead Union Learning Representative)

• Others may be co-opted or invited to attend meetings as agreed by the LPSC, for example Representative for the Rail Union Learning Programme and TUC Learning Services

The secretary to the LPSC will be appointed by SWT.

The LPSC will meet at least twice a year, with further meetings being held as necessary.

The main functions of the LPSC will be to:

• Establish a Union Learning Forum of Representatives (at the inaugural meeting);

• Ensure that all appointed Union Learning Representatives are competently trained;

• Facilitate the identification of learning needs for employees through the Union Learning Representatives, maintaining confidentiality where appropriate (workplace training is not included);

• Produce a learning plan and develop a learning strategy;

• Prioritise learning needs;

• Create appropriate learning opportunities;

• Identify funds for education and training;

• Establish and maintain learning centres and other learning providers;

• Report back to the Company, Trade Unions, Union Learning Representatives and employees.

s. Union Learning Representatives

5.1 The number and distribution of Union Learning Representatives, will be agreed between SWT and the Trade Union partners and will be a maximum of 50. The allocation of the 50 Union Learning Representatives to be determined by the Trade Unions.

5.2 A Union Learning Representative must have been employed by SWT for at least one year and have been a member of a Trade Union for no less than six months.

5.3 Union Learning Representatives will hold their position until such time they are advised otherwise by their relevant Trade Union.


6. Trade Union Responsibility

6.1 The Trade Unions individually and collectively will be responsible for notifying SWT of the full details of each ULR ensuring that SWT has a fair representation

of ULRs situated Company wide giving consideration to all employees irrespective of gender, ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion or geographical location.

6.2 Trade Unions will be responsible for the recruitment and training of ULRs in accordance with the legislation.

6.3 Trade Unions will be responsible for maintaining appropriate records for the monitoring of the recruitment and training of ULRs and provide SWT with full details of appointments and resignations promptly following any changes.

7. Union Learning Representatives Release and Pay Arrangements for Training

7.1 It is the Trade Unions responsibility to ensure that the ULRs receive sufficient and appropriate training for the ULR role within six months of their appointment. If a ULR is unable to complete their training within six months of being appointed due to unforeseen circumstances, then the Steering Committee may agree to consider the reasons and extend the qualifying period. Time off with pay will be granted for initial training, following appointment as a ULR, of 5 days and a further 5 days in the first year in the role. The method of payment for such time-off will be the greater of the normal rostered hours for the day(s) in question had the ULR worked or the time spent training.

7.2 The relevant Trade Union should give SWT at least 21 days written notice requesting release when a ULR is proposing to commence a relevant training course. Upon request the Union will supply SWT with the details of the course programme indicating the contents of the course. In all cases release will be subject to SWT business requirements.

7.3 The union will also notify SWT when the employee has completed their initial training.

7.4 The recognised minimum training required for a Union Learning Representative is the Rail Union Learning Representatives Course organised by the TUC.

7.5 Any additional training for ULRs will be considered by the LPSC.

7.7 The normal arrangements will apply in relation to Rest/Free days where these coincide with a training course.


8. Union Learning Representatives Key FunctionsRelease & Pay Arrangements

8.1 SWT will allow ULRs reasonable time off with pay during work hours to carry out the key functions of their role. The method of payment for such time-off will be the greater of the normal rostered hours for the day(s) in question had the ULR worked or the time spent on ULR duties.

8.2 In all cases time off will be subject to SWT business requirements.

8.3 Union Learning Representatives must give at least 14 days notice in writing of a request for time off stating the reason, amount and timing.

8.4 The requested time off must be reasonable and this should be in the region of 12 days per calendar year. This does not include time off to attend the meetings of the LPSC.

9. Employee Consultation with Union Learning Reps

9.1 Employees accessing the services of a ULR should arrange to do so in their own time outside normal working hours. If time-off duty is required, then this will be without pay. Requests for such unpaid time-off must be made to the local SWT manager at least 14 days in advance and should state the purpose of the time-off, the location, timing and duration of time-off required. In all cases, unpaid time-off will be granted subject to SWT business requirements.

10. Release for Employees Attending Training Courses

Employees who attend the SWT RUL programme will normally be expected to complete their course in their own time and in accordance with the previously mentioned conditions.

11. Resolving Differences

11.1 Any differences concerning the Learning Agreement relating to the ULRs will be dealt with by the LPSC within a reasonable timescale.

11.2 If the LPSC is unable to resolve the issue the SWT HR Director and appropriate full time Trade Union official will consider what other steps might assist resolution.


12. Facilities for Union Learning Representatives

SWT will provide suitable facilities for ULRs to enable them to carry out their duties effectively such as;

• Access to telephone and fax machine

• Access to stationery

• Access to appropriate IT facilities

• Access to notice boards

• Secure storage space

• Access to a room for confidential work and interviews where possible and practical.

13. Equal Opportunities and Equal Access

SWT and the unions recognise the importance of equal opportunities and equal access to enhance skills levels in order to meet both the company's business objectives as well as the individual learning and development needs of employees.

Training and development will be provided to all employees regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion or geographical location.