The BFAWU is strongest when workplace branches have active members, that attend branch meetings, engage in ballots and put themselves forwards to become representatives in the workplace.
There are several types of union representative, with separate roles:
Shop Steward – has statutory rights to represent members in the workplace and carry out other workplace duties.
Health and safety representative – has statutory rights to cover many aspects of health, safety and welfare in the workplace and attends health and safety committee meetings. In our union the shop steward and the health and safety representative are two separate positions.
Union learning representative – has statutory rights for promoting and organising education and training in their own workplace.
Green representative – Union environmental or green reps play a key role in raising awareness and ensuring that environmental issues are included in the bargaining agenda with employers. Currently within the BFAWU this role may be joined up with another role.
Branch Secretary – is the main contact person with the wider union. They handle branch administration and work with the Branch President/Chair and other branch representatives to provide leadership.
Branch President/Chair – facilitates branch and committee meetings, they chair all of the meetings held within the branch and advise on procedure and rules of the union.
If you are interested in becoming a representative, the best place to start is to start with your workplace branch secretary or full time official if there isn’t a branch structure in your workplace.
If you don’t want to become a representative but still want to be active in your branch it is important that you turn up to branch meetings when they are held so your voice is heard, you can put forward motions to annual conference that help to shape union policy and keep up to date with what’s going on by ensuring we have your correct email address.