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Unpaid time off for trade union activities

Under s 170(1), an ordinary member of a recognised independent trade union is entitled to take time off work to engage in ‘any activities of the union’.40 The substance of this section was not changed by the 1989 amendments. In contrast to the position in relation to paid time off for trade union duties, this right is not limited within the statute by the need for the activities to be directly connected to matters of collective bargaining or any recognition agreement. However, although ‘activities of the union’ could thus have a very broad application,41 the EAT in Luce v London Borough of Bexley,42 has substantially narrowed the application of the phrase.