About the role of Branch Reps, Workplace Contacts and Branch Officers
All UNISON reps and activists are volunteers. We all support each other.
We recruit new members. Those of us who have been trained can advise and represent members with problems. We also consult with our employers in the interests of every employee, not members alone. We campaign to improve our working lives on issues that are core UNISON values.
One of UNISON’s core values is that we must be a properly representative union. This means that in our Branch, where about two thirds of the members are women, we would expect to see proportionately more women than men active in the Branch. But it isn’t so. One third of the membership is taking on three quarters of the work, and still we do not have enough active reps to tackle all the work needed.
We urgently need more women to volunteer. We also need to hear from more members who are low-paid, or part-time, or young members, or disabled, or black, or lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. It’s time to get involved.
Representatives take on the following roles. What role suits your talents? Read on and see ….
- Branch reps
- Workplace contact
- Branch officers
- Assistant branch secretary
- Branch secretary
- Education officer
- Equalities officer
- Health & Safety officer(s)
- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Officer (LGBT)
- Lifelong learning officer
- Membership services & RMS officer(s)
- Publicity team officer(s)
- Sports and social officer
- Welfare officer
- Young members officer
- Disablities Officer
These are the key people in the Branch. They regularly meet the employees in their area, recruit new employees and represent the interests of all employees with local management. If a member (not necessarily in their area) has a problem they advise and represent that member. In addition they promote the union’s campaigns. They do not act as representatives for non-members.
They can contact more experienced reps or the branch secretary for help and ask the regional officers for advice.
- Health & safety reps, branch Officers, the local employer.
- Local workplace meetings. Monthly Branch executive meeting. Annual general meeting, Special general meetings. Might be nominated to a regional or national committee if they are interested.
Comprehensive training and refresher training is provided. It is structured in modules to make it easier to achieve all the training needed.
Where there is no local rep, the workplace contact links members to the branch so that they get UNISON news. Can join in campaigns, events, training adverts etc. The workplace contact notifies the branch of any problems.
- Branch reps in their area, health & safety if needed, branch officers.
- Is welcome to attend any local reps meeting and branch executive if they wish to, otherwise, annual general meeting and special general meeting. In-house induction training is provided.
Assistant Branch Secretary
Books rooms for meetings. Ensures that accommodation and travel for conference delegates is undertaken. Stands in for the branch secretary when the branch secretary is away for three or more days, for example. national delegates conference, annual leave, sickness.
- Branch officers, region and national.
- All the above branch meetings.
Co-ordinates branch negotiations and industrial relations matters with the various staff sides. Manages the office function. Makes sure branch records are properly kept. Ensures Branch observes UNISON rules. Ensures good communications internally and externally and assists with campaigns and recruitment. Supports and encourages reps and other branch reps and officers. Undertakes branch organisation and development in liaison with regional officers. Ensures that members are aware of UNISON benefits.
- Annual general meeting, special general meeting, branch executive, staff side meetings.
Chairs annual general meeting, special general meeting, branch executive committee. Takes part in branch campaigns and recruitment activities. Represents the branch at social / political / employer functions.
- As above.
Another vital post. Makes sure all reps and safety reps receive induction training and refresher training. Publicises the range of educational and training opportunities available to members and activists. Establish contact with the regional education officer / regional education committee. To ensure that the office keeps up-to-date records of members / activists training. To help members get paid time off for their training where necessary.
- Branch secretary, branch office staff, membership officer, lifelong learning organiser, women’s officer, regional and national to stay in touch with training courses available and to devise in-house training.
Attends and does brief reports for:
Education / lifelong learning committee, branch executive.
There is training for this post.
Advises the branch officers and branch executive in respect of matters relating to equal opportunities and collective bargaining issues. Advises and supports branch officers and branch executive committee on the development and monitoring of the action plan to achieve proportionality and fair representation. Advises and supports the development of self-organised groups on behalf of the branch committee. Develops and promotes training opportunities for the disadvantaged members and activities within the branch.
- Branch officers, especially branch secretary and branch education co-ordinator. Makes links with regional officers on equalities issues.
- Annual general meeting, special general meeting, branch executive committee.
Health & Safety Officer(s)
All health & safety reps have to have basic training in order to be recognised by the employer. Once they are trained and recognised they have more power over a workplace than does a rep.
Health & safety reps have a vital role in ensuring work is done in a safe and healthy way in a safe and healthy environment. In addition health and safety issues are good recruitment issues and health & safety reps have a strong role to play in recruitment.
- Reps, local management, senior level management through the health & safety committee, regional health and safety officers.
- Branch executive monthly committee if there is an issue, monthly health & safety meetings, annual general meeting, special general meeting. senior, or long-standing health & safety reps might be nominated to regional or national positions.
Comprehensive training and refresher training is provided. It is structured in modules to make it easier to achieve all the training needed as flexibly as possible.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Members Officer
Organises the branch self-organised group (SOG) for LGBT members who wish to be active in dealing with LGBT issues in the workplace and in society. Assists, supports and advises LGBT members who are having difficulty at work and who are not out.
- Members who are LGBT, other UNISON LGBT and core structures, equality officers, branch reps and branch officers as necessary, regional and national officers, the employer, external LGBT bodies.
- Self-organised group meetings that they may organise, UNISON LGBT and other committees and annual conferences to which they may be nominated, branch executive committee, annual general meeting, special general meeting.
Lifelong Learning Officer
Helps to advise about and promote take-up of learning opportunities in their workplaces. Training is given. There is a special recognition with Ceredigion County Council for CCC employee / members to undertake this work in paid time.
- The lifelong learning co-ordinator, the branch education co-ordinator, members (and in Ceredigion County Council, non-members too).
- Lifelong learning committee meetings, any other relevant meetings as necessary.
Membership & Recruitment Officer
A key post. Links with branch officers and activists to help all representatives to recruit. The higher the membership we achieve in each of our employers the more bargaining power we give to our staff sides.
- Those who are campaigning to maximise campaign impact re recruitment, branch secretary, self-organised groups, event organisers.
- Events, annual general meeting, special general meeting, branch executive.
Publicity team officer(s)
A vital post ensuring that all the branches work is publicised in a quarterly magazine to members. Also responsible for ensuring that web page is maintained and kept up to speed with all appropriate information.
- All branch officers and reps in order to get maximum information to publish.
- Annual general meeting, special general meeting, branch executive, other meetings as appropriate.
Sports and Social Officer
Does what it says on the tin. Organises or helps to organise all the branches sports and social events.
- Anyone who wants to use sports / games to recruit, to raise charity funds for the causes recognised in the branch, liaises with branch reps.
- Anything they help organise, branch executive, annual general meeting, special general meeting.
Looks after the Branch’s financial business. Makes sure that all members’ subs are sent to UNISONs national head office. Keeps the accounts according to the UNISON rule book. Provides reports on the branch’s financial position to finance and general purposes committee, and to branch executive. Provides for the annual general meeting an annual return of branch income audited by the two elected branch auditors.
- Has regular meetings with the branch secretary, branch officers.
- branch executive and the annual general meeting to advise officers and branch executive members on matters of financial management and appropriate expenditure.
Full training is provided.
In the absence of the chair, chairs annual general meeting, special general meeting, and branch executive. Takes part in branch campaigns and recruitment activities.
- Branch secretary, chair.
- As above.
Ensures that branch officers, reps and workplace reps have regular and up-to-date information about UNISON welfare. Ensures that members seeking welfare assistance receive a prompt, support and effective response. Liaises, as appropriate, with regional and national levels to ensure that UNISON welfare support is provided effectively.
- Branch treasurer, branch secretary, other branch officers, members, regional and national as appropriate.
- Annual general meeting, special general meeting, branch executive, other meetings as appropriate.
Young Members Officer
Organises the branch’s young members who wish to be active in the trade union movement and in campaigning for a better society.
- Young members, equality officers, branch reps and branch officers as necessary, regional and national officers, the employer, external organisations.
- Any meetings that they may organise, any relevant UNISON committees and annual conferences to which they may be nominated, branch executive committee, annual general meeting, special general meeting.
Advises the branch officers and branch executive in respect of matters relating to disability issues. Advises and supports the development of self-organised groups on behalf of the branch committee. Develops and promotes training opportunities for the disadvantaged members and activities within the branch.
- Branch officers, especially branch secretary, branch equalities officer and branch lifelong learning officer. Makes links with regional officers on disability issues.
- Annual general meeting, disabilities regional S.O.G, special general meeting, branch executive committee.
If you have any questions about these duties please contact the Branch Office Secretary on 07971 811189 (mobile), or email: unison secretary