Trade union facility time 2017-21

Published: 28 July 2021
Freedom of information class: What we spend and how

Facility time generates benefits for employees, managers and the wider community from effective joint working between union representatives and employers.

A number of studies have shown that union workplaces tend to be safer and that trade unions help to promote skills and training in workplace. The Registers of Scotland recognises this through our support for trade union learning and equality initiatives.

The NatCen study highlighted four main benefits from the use of facility time:

  • Provision of a ready-made structure for meaningful consultation and negotiation saves money and reassures members that their views are valued in decision-making.
  • Facilitation of partnership working with trade unions improves workplace relations and the reputation of an employer as ‘a good place to work’.
  • Earlier intervention in relation to complaints, grievances and disciplinary action prevents escalation into more serious problems and saves organisations (and taxpayers) money by reducing the impact on staff time and possible legal costs.
  • Better communication during restructuring and redundancy processes improves understanding of decisions, minimises negative impacts and reduces the number of working days lost through industrial action.

The Fair Work Convention highlights these points through its ‘Effective voice’ principle. As they state: “It is clear from international evidence that employees and workers want a voice, not only to resolve problems and conflicts (which is important) but also to engage and participate constructively in organisations.”

On organisational change, they say: “There are many examples in Scotland and elsewhere of how collective voice through trade unions working with employers has addressed a wide range of organisational challenges and contributed to organisational improvements.”

It is the view of Registers of Scotland that facility time data legally required by the Trade Union (Facility Time Publication Requirements) Regulations 2017, should be set in the context of the vast benefits that facility time bring to the workforce and to the employer, as set out above. This is supported by the Scottish Government, the STUC and our affiliated trade unions.

Relevant union officials

What was the total number of your employees who were relevant union officials during the relevant period?

Year Number of employees Full-time employee equivalent
7 6.5
2019-20 8 7
2018-19 9 9
2017-18 10 10

Percentage of time spent on facility time

How many of your employees who were relevant union officials employed during the relevant period spent a) 0%, b) 1%-50%, c) 51%-99% or d) 100% of their working hours on facility time?

Year Percentage of time Number of employees


0% 0
1-50% 5
51%-99% 0
100% 2


0% 0
1-50% 6
51%-99% 0
100% 2


0% 0
1%-50% 7
51%-99% 0
100% 2


0% 0
1%-50% 8
51%-99% 0
100% 2

Percentage of pay bill spent on facility time

Provide the figures requested in the first column of the table below to determine the percentage of your total pay bill spent on paying employees who were relevant union officials for facility time during the relevant period.

Year Total
cost of facility time
Total Percentage of
the total pay bill spent on
facility time
(total cost of facility
time ÷ total pay bill) x 100
2020-21 £129,233 £68,456,537 0.19%
2019-18 £126,971 £63,080,451 0.20%
2018-19 £131,043 £58,135,910 0.23%
2017-18 £148,190.72 £57,993,222.00 0.25%

Paid trade union activities

As a percentage of total paid facility time hours, how many hours were spent by employees who were relevant union officials during the relevant period on paid trade union activities?

Year Time spent on paid trade union activities as a percentage of total paid
facility time hours

(total hours spent on paid trade union activities by
relevant union officials during the relevant period
÷ total paid facility time hours) x 100
2021-20 4.2%
2020-19 8.8%
2019-18 6.9%
2017-18 15.82%

If you would like this report in an accessible format, contact us with your preferences.

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