From the TUC

Shani explains her role as Royal College of Midwives rep – #heartunions

14 Feb 2017, By

8th – 14th February 2017 is #heartunions week, celebrating the great work unions do, and paying tribute to the reps who are an important part of that. The Unsung Heroes series is running all week, sharing stories from reps and members about how being part of their union has impacted their lives.

Shani has been accredited as a Royal College of Midwives workplace representative since 2014.

“I have been involved with a varying array of cases from a disciplinary to a grievance, several sickness management cases and consultations affecting the workforce.  All of the cases have their own challenges and peculiarities, but that is the part of the role that I love, it is so varied and interesting and I believe that it has enabled me to learn a lot about my workplace and the wider NHS.  I am happy for members to contact me at any time for advice, often we work behind the scenes to try and get matters resolved informally, but this is not always possible which means following a formal route, this can be distressing to some and I believe that they appreciate the support and guidance that a workplace rep can provide.”

Besides the day to day work, she also attends a number of union meetings each month.

“The Joint Union Committee (JUC) is a regular monthly meeting with other trade union representatives, it is always interesting to hear what others are doing across the trust, besides the excellent opportunities it provides to network it also forewarns me of any potential issues which may inevitability affect our RCM members.  I also attend the Joint Consultative Negotiating Committee once a month, where the members of the JUC, meet directly with the trust’s executive board.  These meetings are incredibly valuable as it allows me direct access to the senior managers where issues that are important to the members we represent can be raised directly.  Recently I have also started to attend the Nursing and Midwifery Workforce Group which is a group of senior nursing managers and union representatives who meet on a fortnightly basis.  The trust is in financial special measures so the group have been tasked with looking at ways to reduce front line staffing costs by creating new initiatives and efficiencies, which in itself is very worrying indeed.”

Shani thinks now is a particularly important time for NHS workers to band together and join a union.

“These are challenging times for the NHS and attacks on the terms and conditions we all enjoy seem to be a daily occurrence in various guises, that is why I would strongly advocate becoming a union member, it is never too late to join and we are here to help.”

The big aim for #heartunions week is to encourage more people to join a union. Please share this page with friends, colleagues and neighbours. If we each get one person to join a union this week, we’ll be well on the way to getting a better deal for working people all year round.

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