While the Branch encourages members to become active in the Branch as stewards (alternatively known as workplace representatives) and officers, representing members and helping to run the Union (and there are vacancies!), that’s not the only way to get involved.
From time to time we publicise free training events and conferences that members can attend, but there are also UNISON self-organised groups in which women, black members, disabled members, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members, young members and retired members can get involved (see: https://www.unison.org.uk/about/our-organisation/structure/member-groups/).
But UNISON also has a role for “workplace contacts”.
Workplace contacts can play an important role in helping members organise, by being the eyes and ears of the Branch in a particular team or area, helping communicate the Branch’s messages and sharing information with their colleagues and other members, promoting the Union and supporting and encouraging people who want to join UNISON. Where members need representation or advice, a workplace contact can refer them to the best source of help. Unlike officers and stewards, workplace contacts are not elected.
It’s a good way of getting to know UNISON (and the University) a bit better, and could be a starting point for someone thinking of getting more involved with the Union. Either way, being a workplace contact could be a great learning opportunity.
If you are interested in becoming a workplace contact, please let the Branch Secretary, Dan Bye, know. Alternatively, speak to your local steward or another officer.