Getting Active In UNISON
There are many ways you can get active in your union and make a real difference in the workplace. Whether you wish to take up the role of steward or health & safety representative, get involved in a self organised group, or play your part in a campaign or AGM, there’s a wealth of opportunities to get involved and play an important role in the union’s work.
Becoming a Steward
Workplace stewards are the main link between members and the union. They represent members’ interests within the branch and to the employer, whether this be in disciplinary hearings, sickness reviews, local sector meetings, or within branch structures. They also play an important part in recruiting new members to the union – the more we have, the more we can do to help.
As a steward you can make a real difference in the workplace. Whether you’re tackling bullying and harrassment, ensuring collective agreements and policies are adhered to, or campaigning for positive change at local or trust-wide level, you have the force of our branch behind you, with almost 3,000 members. You don’t have to do everything, either – you might have a real intereset in sticking up for your colleagues during meetings with management, or you may wish to focus on a specific issue at a time, such as racism or kitchen facilities. As you can see, there’s a pretty wide remit!
Stewards receive full training, conducted by UNISON and the Trades Union Congress (TUC), to ensure they have the skills and knowledge to carry out their role effectively. They are entitled to paid time off work to undertake this training, as well as paid time off to fulfil their duties as a trade union representative. If you’re ready to take an active role, we’re here to support you all the way.
Becoming a Health and Safety Representative
Health and Safety Representatives organise to build safer workplaces for all of us. They undertake workplace inspections, organise and build campaigns to improve conditions, consult employees on safety issues and represent their interests to the employer.
The topic of Health and Safety is not about red tape and bureacracy for us. It’s about organising together for safer workplaces and being the driving force behind real improvements in the workplace for everyone. H&S reps have legal powers to access various documents from the employer to ensure things are being done properly, carry out inspections and take unresolved problems further if necessary.
Health and Safety Representatives receive full training, conducted by UNISON and the Trades Union Congress (TUC), to ensure they have the skills and knowledge to carry out their role effectively. They are entitled to paid time off work to undertake this training, as well as paid time off to fulfil their duties as a trade union representative, just as stewards do. If you wish, you can be both a steward and a health and safety rep at the same time.
Other ways to get involved
You don’t have to be a steward or a health and safety representative play a crucial role in the union’s ongoing work. You may wish to become more active in a union campaign, become an equalities rep, or write an article every so often for our magazine or website. Maybe you’re even a keen photographer or digital artist who’d like to help out with some artwork?
Speak to your local rep about getting more involved.