I work at Express Reinforcements in Wales which is a newly formed branch that has recently gained recognition with Community.
While I have always believed in justice and respect at work, becoming a Community Rep was something I had never really considered. However, sometimes it is easy to think that fairness is something that management control and we are powerless.
Then, I developed an interest in the work that my union, Community, was doing, and I realised that, if we all got engaged and involved with the union’s work, things could get a lot better.
Although I was initially anxious, I became interested in being a Branch Secretary since I felt so strongly about making improvements at work.
I’ll be honest; it can be intimidating, and the idea of going into a meeting with management and attempting to persuade them of my point of view seemed daunting. But then I discovered that Community not only offered Reps help and direction from the RepCentre (an online hub of resources) and from my Regional Organiser, it also organised excellent training sessions that gave me the necessary skills I needed to be effective in my role.
So, after speaking with my Regional Office, they nominated me for the stage one course for Branch Officials. After taking part in the training, I was very happy with the bonds I quickly formed with other Community Reps there. When we started talking about difficulties in the workplace, whether you work in heavy industry like me, or a prison, a school, or in the logistics sector, you realise we have so much in common.
It becomes clear that our strength is in the diversity of Community’s membership.
Our tutors, Kate, and Chris, placed us at ease and promoted group work throughout the course. We gained a thorough understanding of the roles and responsibilities of being Reps, as well as how we might best address members’ concerns at work.
After the course, I feel much better prepared to handle problems at work and speak on behalf of our members. I am really looking forward to attending further training that is scheduled for later this year.
Whether you are a new Rep or even a member who is considering becoming a Rep, you should talk to your Regional Office about the opportunities, training and support that Community can offer.
Interested in becoming a Community Rep?
Community Reps are the backbone of our union – they’re on the ground supporting our members at work with issues in the workplace, equalities, health and safety, and more. Take a look the different Rep roles available here.