Being a member of the Social Workers Union enables to you apply to undertake the important role of Union Contact and we welcome people who are interested and enthusiastic about getting involved – previous union experience is useful but not essential.
We firmly believe there is a need for SWU to have a visible presence in workplaces, universities and beyond, and we are keen to establish a team of SWU Union Contacts nationally.
If you are familiar with trade unions in the workplace you will know that, conventionally, the role of “rep” or “shop steward” often involves lengthy and complex negotiations with employers and managers. At SWU however we do not place those expectations upon our Union Contacts who already have demanding social work roles and/or study commitments. We have full-time professional officers from BASW/SWU who provide advice and representation in relation to all employment issues and negotiations. This enables our Union Contacts to focus on the general, and very much needed, promotion of the union in workplaces, universities, and placements.
As a SWU Union Contact you will:
- be the first point of contact for anyone in the workplace or university in relation to trade union issues or concerns, which you will log and forward to SWU for further discussion.
- be an essential contact for SWU when we and members need to exchange information and ideas.
- encourage membership in the workplace by providing leaflets/flyers/merchandise and promotional materials.
- promote and be involved in campaigns, events, rallies attended by SWU (dependent upon your availability and commitments).
- receive mentor sessions and training with a focus upon strengthening the union and ensuring you are happy and confident in your role.
- receive opportunities to progress further with Union activities and GFTU training.
Our Union Contact Induction Days include a presentation by John McGowan, General Secretary of SWU and include activities and information relating to trade union recruitment, campaigning and activism. We also have the support of Dr Neil Thompson who provides a learning session at our Induction meetings as well as providing each Union Contact free access to his online programme, and a free copy of his new book “The Social Workers Practice Manual”.
Full details of the role and dates of our next Union Contact Induction Day will be provided to any SWU member interested in learning more about the role, and once inducted you will receive all relevant merchandise and paperwork, as well as ongoing support and training in order to successfully undertake the role. You will also be added to our SWU Union Contacts Facebook Page and will be encouraged to contribute to it, as well as to our monthly Newsletter which includes a “Union Contacts Corner”.
Interested in becoming a SWU Union Contact? Please visit our Contact page or email our National Organiser & Union Contact Scheme Manager, Carol Reid.