Get involved with the CWU
An introduction from Terry Pullinger, the CWU Deputy General Secretary
Thinking about becoming involved with the CWU?
But you’re unsure if you have the skills needed.
If you can answer yes to the following 4 questions you have all you need to get started
1 Do you want to help your colleagues at work?
2 Do you think it’s right that you and your work colleagues should have a say over what happens in your workplace?
3 Do you believe in fairness, equality, dignity and respect at work?
4 Would you like to learn new skills and use these to help others?
When deciding you want be involved you are not expected to know everything about the CWU. That’s why the CWU will work with you to help you gain the necessary skills and confidence to enable you to gradually develop and become active.
As well as being given training to help you build up the skills you need, you’ll get the support you need from reps across the CWU, within your region and from specialist departments from within the CWU.
Structure and roles within the communication workers union Royal Mail
There are a number of roles available for member of the CWU both at a local and national level – below is a list of how the CWU is structured:
• Postal Executive
• Divisional Reps
• Area Reps
• Local Reps
These positions sit in with the Industrial Relations Framework Agreement between Royal Mail and the CWU.
Role of the Postal Executive Members
The Postal Executive members deal with issues on a national basis for example they will be involved in negotiating National Agreements with Royal Mail on a range of issues. They also develop national strategy for the CWU.
Role of the Divisional Reps
The Divisional Reps are responsible for a number of branches who form a Divisional Committee. The Divisional Reps will deal with disagreements between the local branches and Royal Mail. They will also deal with discipline and grievance cases at the appeal stage.
Role of the Area Rep
There are 3 Area Reps within an Area:
• Processing Area Rep
• Delivery Area Rep
• Distribution Area Rep
The Area Reps deal with all issues which arise at that level. They also assist local Reps where needed. Area Reps will also deal with discipline and grievance cases, as well as negotiating locally, on issues such as duty revisions, Christmas arrangements etc.
Role of the Local Rep
The local rep will work in Deliveries, Processing or Distribution. The local rep will deal with day to day issues which arise in the Office or on shift. They can also deal with 1st stage discipline or grievance cases, and will be involved in local negotiations for example on duty revisions etc.
There are a number of roles available for member of the CWU both at a local and national level – below is a flow chart of how the CWU is structured:
• Postal Executive
• Regional Organisers – Area Organiser Northern Ireland
• Area Rep Coventry Hub and International
• Depot Reps
• Hub Reps
• Admin Reps
These positions sit in with the Industrial Relations Framework Agreement between Parcelforce and the CWU.
Role of the Postal Executive Members
The Postal Executive members deal with issues on a national basis for example they will be involved in negotiating National Agreements with Royal on a range of issues. They also develop national strategy for the CWU
Role of the Regional Organisers and Area Organiser Northern Ireland
The Regional Organisers and Area Organiser Northern Ireland are responsible for a number of branches within each Region. The Regional Organiser and Area Organiser Northern Ireland will deal with disagreements between the local branches and Parcelforce. They will also deal with discipline and grievance cases at the appeal stage.
Area Rep Coventry
The Area Rep deals with issues which arise in both Coventry Hub and the international operation in Coventry. The Area Rep will deal with issue in both sections; they will also deal with discipline and grievance cases.
Depot Reps – Hub Reps – Admin Reps
These Reps deal with the day to day issues in their workplaces. For example negotiations in relation to shift patterns. They will also deal with 1st stage disciplines and grievances.
There are also a number of other positions which sit outside of the Industrial Relations Framework Agreement which are just as important:
• Branch Secretary
• Branch Organiser
• Area Health and Safety Rep
• Local Health and Safety Rep
• Equality Officer
• Women’s Officer
• Youth Officer
• Black and Ethnic Minority Officer
• Branch Chair
• Lead Union Learning Rep
• Local Union Learning Rep
Role of the Branch Secretary
The branch secretary co-ordinates the activity of the Area and Local Reps. The role can also deal with administrating legal cases. Organising and Recruitment of new members is also a large part of the role. The role of Branch Secretary can vary from Branch to Branch so if in doubt contact your local Branch to find out in detail the work they carry out.
The Treasurer is responsible for the up keep of the Branch Finances on a day to day basis. The Treasurer also plans the finances on an annual basis to ensure that the branch can operate and support members
Area Health and Safety Rep
The Area Health and Safety Reps are trained to the highest level to ensure that CWU members work in a safe environment. They also deal with any issues flagged up by the local Health and Safety Reps
Local Health and Safety Reps
Again these reps are highly trained they look after safety in their local offices or shifts. Any issues of a safety nature which cannot be dealt with by the local health and safety rep are referred to the Area Health and Safety Rep
The equality Officer is responsible for co-ordinating all issues of an equality nature. The Women’s Officer, Black and Ethnic Minorities Officer and the Youth Officer, all deal with issues relating to their position and work closely with the Equality Officer.
The Branch Chair or Chairperson is responsible for ensuring the rules of the union are observed, they are also required to chair meetings of the Branch.
Lead Union Learning Rep
Coordinating the work and training (in consultation with the Branch Secretary) of the Branches ULRs (Union Learning Rep) Being Lead Negotiator on learning issues for the Branch with employers, learning providers and other appropriate bodies
Union Learning Rep
Encourage and support learning in the workplace and wider community as well as help people gain the confidence to learn. Develop learning centres or learning access points where sustainable
TRAINING IS GIVEN AT ALL LEVELS TO ENSURE THAT OUR REPS HAVE THE TOOLS TO CARRY OUT THIER REPRESENTATIVE ROLES
The above is just a flavour of the responsibilities of some CWU Reps if you require more detail please contact your local branch www.cwu.org/cwu-branches.html