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Introduction to being a Rep

You occupy the most important role in our union. As a workplace rep you are a key link in the chain of communication between TSSA and its members, and between your colleagues and their employer.

Introduction

You will usually be the first point of contact for members who need help or information. Working alongside other members, you are ideally placed to respond quickly to their needs and are more likely than anyone else to understand their views and to communicate them effectively.

The key areas of your work can be summarised as follows:

Recruiting

  • recruiting new members
  • retaining existing members

Organising

  • workplace mapping
  • keeping members informed and involved
  • integrating organising and recruitment activities
  • working with your branch

Communicating

  • providing important information for members
  • making meetings work
  • effective written communication

Representing

  • respecting confidentiality
  • representing individuals
  • dealing with grievances and disciplinaries

Types of rep

There are three principal types of rep: company-level reps, local level reps, who can also be certified reps and health & safety reps.

Company level reps
They do the day-to-day work of negotiating with management and talking to members specifically in relation to company-wide issues like pay and conditions.

Local level reps
There are more local reps than other reps. They do the day-to-day work of liaising with management and talking to members, but in relation to local issues only.

Certified reps
Company-level and local reps who have undergone specific training are known as certified reps. This means that they have been approved by TSSA officers to undertake certain tasks such as representing members during disciplinary and grievance cases.

Health and safety reps
Health and safety reps have specific rights and duties under health and safety legislation and play an important role in the workplace.

As well as these three main categories, there are additional specialist reps including:

  • trained pensions reps who represent members’ pension interests
  • learning reps (ULRs) with specific legal rights allowing them to organise around promoting, supporting, and even initiating, professional & personal development for members both within and outwith the immediate workplace.

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