From the TUC

Building the Reps team

28 Nov 2008, By

Yesterday I was in Blackpool at an event run by unionlearn in the North West to speak about the Activist Academy as part of a workshop on the link between Learning and Organising.

During the discussion that followed the opening comments we got round to asking the reps there how many of them, as well as being Union Learning Reps held at least one or two other ‘reps’ roles.  The answer was almost everybody in the audience.

This bears out findings from research published over recent years that amongst others things reported that;

  • The proportion of UNIONISED workplaces WITHOUT an on-site reps is growing – meaning that for many members there is no one in their workplace from the union to whom they can turn to for advice and who is listening members cares and concerns
  • Nearly half of the workplaces where there IS a rep, have only 1and – meaning that either reps hold a number of positions or that some vital jobs such as Healtha and Safety, Union Learning and Equality reps aren’t being carried out.
  • The proportion of members to reps is increasing – meaning that where we do have reps, they are getting busier.

As someone who was lucky enough to start work in a unionised workplace I know the value that having a number of well trained, resourced and supported reps brings to workplaces, not only in respect of the service and support that they provide to members but in the impact that they have on how the union’s relevance and effectiveness is perceived.

One of the objectives of the TUC Activist Academy will be to give the reps that are already in place the skills to go out and find others to join them and build a reps team in their branch or workplace and to turn members into active members who support the union activity and campaigns that reps initiate and run.

Aside from making the uniuon more effective ande the therefore the life of members better, this can also make the reps role more enjoyable, rewarding and certainly less stressful.

If you’re interested in building a reps team in your workplace or branch get in touch with the TUC Activist Academy.  Details are available on the website – or by emailing [email protected]