Community Stewards: Training and Support, Negotia

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2014 Community Service Group Conference
1 January 2014

Community Stewards: Training and Support, Negotiating, Bargaining and Facility Time

Conference recognises that trained stewards are vital to the success of building and recruiting strong UNISON membership within the community sector and to ensure that its membership is fully able to represent its members.

Also many groups of workers in the Community Service Group are not covered by National terms, conditions and pay bargaining, particularly those whose employment has been transferred out of National Bargaining Agreements. This therefore necessitates bargaining to be done by local branch representatives. This can be an immense challenge for those representatives for which they often feel unprepared.

Many of the stewards in the community sector regularly have to deal with complex issues such as TUPE transfers, negotiating facility time, recognition agreements and changes to pay and conditions. This work is on top of representing members at disciplinary and grievance meetings with members of the management committee or Board of Trustees who often have only very basic knowledge of employment law and limited experience of working with trade unions. Often the stewards are the only UNISON rep in a workplace or the workplace is cut off from the rest of the branch – in a care home or a small voluntary sector organisation for example. Under these circumstances it is easy for an isolated steward to become burnt out or disillusioned.

This Conference therefore calls upon the National Community Service Group Executive, in order to ensure the best possible outcome for our members to

i) Ensure that adequate provision is made nationally and regionally, appropriate, for activists who will carry out these local negotiations to receive training and access to supporting materials to ensure they have the skills and knowledge to carry out those negotiations effectively.

ii) Form a working group to identify and prioritise the training needs for both new and active stewards in the community sector and liaise with UNISON’s Education committee on how best to provide that training for our stewards.

iii) Develop a network for activists to exchange information with others in similar situations and produce a best practice guide for local employee representatives and branches with community members to ensure that community activists are able to negotiate adequate facilities time and undertake negotiations with their employer with appropriate branch support.