A weekend spent in a meeting room with a group of union reps may not sound particularly exciting, but it proved to be a most uplifting event. The engagement, enthusiasm and commitment shown by the eight reps present really underlined the value of trade unions and the positive contribution they make to modern workplaces.
The group came from all over the UK; and from three diverse trade unions: Aegis (Finance), Bakers Food and Allied Workers; and the Prison Officers Association. All were new reps with very little or no experience in workplace representation or trade union organising.
Run by the GFTU Educational Trust; and held at the Quorn Grange Hotel in Leicestershire, this was a New Reps Development course that looked at issues such as time off for trade union duties, grievance and disciplinary procedures, dealing with workplace problems and improving union organisation at the workplace.
One of the rewarding aspects of running any training like this is seeing a measurable increase in the confidence and understanding of those attending. Indeed, the average self-assessment score increased from 2.9 before the course to 8.1 at the end.
Feedback from the group was also very good. One of the reps described the weekend as. “Very casual, friendly and interactive. Everyone had equal participation; and it was delivered at a nice comfortable pace.” Another said, “I now know what is expected of me and what I can and can’t do as a rep.” A third said simply, “Very pleased and happy.”
Overall, a great two days.