To GMB members the workplace rep is ‘the union’. Sometimes workplace reps are called ‘shop stewards’, ‘union reps’, or ‘staff representatives’. Each rep is the first point of contact for GMB members and potential members and vital to the union’s work.
Recruiting and Organising
The strength of the union in negotiations depends on its strength in the workplace. The GMB goal is for 100% of workplace membership. It is difficult to claim to represent the workforce if many employees are not members of the union.
The role of the workplace rep these days involves promoting fairness at work, bargaining for better conditions, helping to resolve issues at work, dealing with difficulties that arise in the workplace and tackling health and safety issues.
Members look to their reps for knowledge, experience and guidance. They turn to their workplace rep when they have a problem or feel they are being unfairly treated. In general the issues on which union representatives spend most time are health and safety matters and the way employees are treated by management.
The rep is the voice of the members in his or her workplace when dealing with the employer on issues that affect them and their working conditions. Sometimes a rep may be helping an individual member, such as one facing disciplinary action. At other times the rep may be meeting managers on behalf of his/her members collectively.
Communicating and Informing
The union representative is the key point of contact between the union and its members. This means it is important for them to attend branch meetings, to keep the union informed about members’ concerns and to keep members up to date about union initiatives and campaigns.
If you are interested in becoming a workplace representative then please call us on 0208 227 2157 or visit the main members area and sign up from there.