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Becoming a Rep

Interested in becoming a rep?

What is a rep?

A rep is a trade union member with special responsibilities towards other members. Reps have a vital role to play within TSSA and help to build the strength and vitality of the union in their workplace. It is largely through reps that members can achieve change at work.

Reps are often the first point of contact for colleagues who need help or information. They provide a link between staff and their employers, and connect members to the support that is available through the union.

Because reps work alongside other members they are ideally placed to respond quickly to their needs. They are more likely than anyone else to understand their views and communicate them effectively.

What do reps do?

Reps put the views of their colleagues to managers on issues such as pay, hours and pensions. In a company that formally recognises TSSA, reps - together with TSSA officers - negotiate these issues on behalf of all the members through a process known as collective bargaining. Reps also support members individually - if they feel they have been unfairly treated, for example.

The duties of rep vary from one company to another but typically include:

  • spreading the word about TSSA and helping to recruit new members
  • channeling information to members - about their rights at work for example
  • negotiating with employers on behalf of members over terms and conditions
  • supporting members who are in trouble and representing them individually
  • informing members about further help and services available through TSSA.

Are all reps the same?

No. Some reps are only responsible for members in a particular part of their company. Large companies may also have company council reps who represent members across the whole organisation. In addition, health and safety reps have specific rights and duties under health and safety law. A recent innovation is the introduction of learner reps who help staff to develop their professional skills.

Do I need any qualifications to be a rep?

You do not need special qualifications to be a rep. It is more important that you are enthusiastic about wanting to improve things at work. Full training is given by TSSA to support you in your role.

Will I get paid time off?

Yes. Reps are entitled to reasonable paid time off during working hours for trade union duties. This includes time off for meetings and for dealing with disciplinaries and grievances. You should also be entitled to time off for training.

What training and support will I get?

We know how crucial it is that our reps have the skills and confidence they need - not just to do their job well - but to really enjoy it. TSSA offers all new reps a one-day induction followed by a TUC-accredited course which enables reps to gain skills and understand their rights and responsibilities.

Follow-up courses on issues such as collective bargaining and representing members are also available. The training offered to reps is a great way to meet TSSA staff and other reps as well as picking up a host of valuable information.

In addition to formal training, each rep is fully supported by their TSSA Negotiations Officer (NO). Your NO is well informed about the recognition agreement with your company and is your first point of contact. There is also help from other reps, the TSSA Helpdesk and a range of recruitment and publicity materials.

How do I become a TSSA rep?

If you are interested in becoming a rep, talk to your current rep if you have one. He/she will have more to tell you about the role of rep within your company. You can also talk to your TSSA Negotiations Officer or Organiser, or contact TSSA’s Helpdesk.