On Wednesday 9 September, UVW ran its first rep training in its series of online trainings for the membership called the ‘Furlough Fightback’. Forty-three members attended the Zoom session to discover all the tips and tricks to use when advising and representing workers in grievance and disciplinary matters. Based on strategies from hundreds of successful cases, the training will give members the confidence to start representing workers.
UVW believes that worker education is vital in ensuring that all workers are capable of defending their rights and the rights of their colleagues in the workplace. In order to build a confident membership which is unafraid to stand up to abuses from bosses and managers, the union is building a network of workplace and external reps who will be able to represent and advocate for their coworkers and UVW members in other sectors.
Some of the key questions covered in the training included:
One member who attended the training and had recently joined UVW spoke of experiencing sexual harassment in her workplace and how when she approached a union rep from a different trade union was simply asked, “why don’t you just leave the job?” She says, “I told them, why would I leave the job? I haven’t done anything wrong!”
She goes on to say that, “I came to this training because the other union’s rep had never offered me any training or help for me to stand up for my rights. When I came to this country I had 2 jobs and worked 70-80 hours a week. I want things to change.”
Another member, Erin, who is a member of the UVW Charity Workers Group and also attended the session, explained why she thinks rep training is so important, “disciplinary and grievance hearings are really unbalanced. Even in the charity sector, bosses know that workers are afraid and they use it to their advantage. Building a network of members who know how to represent each other means that workers have a better chance of a fair hearing.”
The second half of the training will run on Wednesday 16 September and will be followed by a series of employment law sessions called ‘Know Your Rights’ every fortnight starting in October. If you are a member of UVW and you haven’t already signed up, you can do so here.
Get trained up and ready to fight back!