Branch Structure and Roles

Branch Structure

Committee Roles

Branch Chair

The branch chair is responsible for:

  • chairing branch committee meetings
  • chairing general members' meetings
  • checking minutes are agreed and accurate
  • making sure branch rules/ constitution are followed
  • attend HR/TU and CJCC meetings
  • playing a major role in negotiations with management

Branch Secretary

The branch secretary performs the main administrative functions of the Branch and is the main contact point for members, Unite HQ and senior management. The branch secretary's main responsibilities are:

  • dealing with correspondence
  • playing a major role in negotiations with management
  • drawing up agendas for meetings (in conjunction with the Chair)
  • preparing reports and up-dates for HR/TU and CJCC & general members' meetings
  • checking and circulating minutes of meetings
  • producing annual report for AGM
  • taking the lead role in negotiations with management
  • making sure branch rules/ constitution are followed
  • developing branch communications with workplace reps/distributors to ensure all members receive communications
  • maintaining and up-dating a membership database for the branch
  • attend HR/TU and CJCC meetings

Branch Treasurer

The branch treasurer is responsible for:

  • Day to day running of branch finances
  • Preparing up-dated accounts
  • Checking accuracy of pay invoices and expenses claims
  • Keeping accurate records
  • Banking any monies received
  • Submitting claims for additional funding from HQ when necessary
  • Producing audited accounts for the AGM
  • Ensuring end of year accounts are submitted to HQ

Senior Workplace Representative

The senior workplace representative is responsible for:

  • ensuring the branch produces and updates a branch organising and recruitment plan to build a strong branch that reflects the diversity of the workforce
  • Chair Case Group
  • Delegate casework to workplace reps as appropriate
  • Record caseload statistics
  • Co-ordinate branch campaigns
  • Co-ordinate branch recruitment (with Branch Secretary)
  • Deputise for Branch Secretary and/or Chair as necessary

Health and Safety Officer

The functions of trade union safety reps are laid down by the 1977 Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations (SRSC Regs.). The law also gives health and safety reps paid time off to fulfill their duties. A properly appointed health and safety rep's functions are:

  • chair H&S Group
  • investigating potential hazards and dangerous occurrences
  • investigating complaints by members
  • investigating the causes of accidents
  • inspecting the workplace
  • inspecting documents relevant to safety in the workplace
  • making representations to the employer
  • representing members' interests in meetings with enforcement inspectors
  • receiving information from the employer
  • receiving information from enforcement inspectors
  • being consulted by the employer about issues relating to health and safety in the workplace
  • attending meetings of safety committees

Equalities officers

Branch equalities officers' duties include:

  • keeping up to date with their awareness of equality legislation • working with the branch to ensure there is no discriminatory impact to new and existing policies/projects
  • organising events to keep people informed of equality issues
  • being available to speak to members on a confidential basis about Equality issues
  • producing branch equality bulletins

Learning Representative

A learning rep is a trained union member who promotes learning in the workplace. Like the health and safety rep, legislation gives learning reps a statutory right to time off to undertake training and to carry out their duties. The learning rep's role involves:

  • chair Learning Group
  • informing members about learning initiatives – e.g. courses developed by PCS organising and learning services or online learning through Learndirect
  • advising members on where to find out about courses and sources of funding
  • acting as a link between members and Career Development Services and advising about the learning interests of members
  • raising issues relating to learning that need to be discussed with management

Workplace Representatives

Workplace Reps liaise between members, colleagues, their employers and the union to ensure that our members' interests are served.

Reps' main work is to represent members during cases but they can specialise in any area that suits their interests and talents.

Working Groups

Industrial Relations Group

Meets: Monthly

Chair: Branch Secretary

Membership: Active Workplace Reps, Active members

Purpose: Oversees industrial side of branch business, including management negotiations, campaign and recruitment.

Case Group

Meets: Monthly

Chair: Senior Workplace Representative

Membership: Workplace Reps

Purpose: Oversees allocation, management and recording of members' cases.

Health and Safety Group

Meets: Monthly

Chair: Health & Safety Officer

Membership: Health & Safety Reps

Purpose: Monitors management of University H&S issues

Union Learning Group

Meets: Monthly

Chair: Learning Representative

Membership: Active members and reps

Purpose: oversee the development and communication of learning opportunities for members

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