TRAINING FOR GMB WORKPLACE ORGANISERS
GMB provides a wide range of training courses to help new and existing Workplace Organisers gain the skills and confidence they need to do the job for GMB where they work. By agreeing to become a GMB Workplace Organiser; we know you are committed to growing your union in your workplace, and that overtime, with the support of your Officer and the members you represent, and with dedicated training, you will further develop your knowledge, skills and confidence in the job. Experience tells us that the best way to learn the job of GMB Workplace Organiser is not in the classroom but by doing it in the workplace and that’s why our training is deliberately designed to be ‘on the job’.
INITIAL SUPPORT TRAINING
Shortly after you first become a GMB Workplace Organiser you will be contacted by the GMB Officer responsible for supporting you and the members where you work, who will give you your Initial Support Training. This will provide you with:
- Details of GMB membership where you work.
- A GMB Representatives badge and official credentials.
- Copies of the recognition agreement between GMB and your employer.
- A copy of this tool kit.
- A copy of GMB@Work Notice Board tool kit.
- A briefing on the current industrial issues where you work.
- Contact details for other GMB Workplace Organisers where you work.
- Contact details for your local GMB office and specialist GMB support staff in the Legal, Health and Safety and Training Departments.
- Your first job as a new GMB Workplace Organiser: To introduce yourself to all those who work in your section, find out who is not in the union and make a list.
- Preparation for your first training course – GMB@Work: Workplace Organisation course.
Whether you are starting as a Union Learning Representative (ULR), Health and Safety Representative or GMB Shop Steward, within a few weeks of completing your Initial Support Training (IST) and once you have had an opportunity to complete your initial work as a new GMB Workplace Organiser you will be invited to attend a two day course during work time at a nearby location. This course starts with the information you have gathered since your IST about whose working around you. It helps you turn this information into your own ‘Map’ of your work place, which will, overtime, become your most valuable tool for building the union and representing members where you work. The course also covers issues such as:
- workplace newsletters;
- how to approach potential members;
- how to keep your members informed and involved with the union and; understanding the union’s relations with your employer.
The course ends with GMB Workplace Organisers being assisted to draw up their own first organising plan for where they work, which will be copied to their GMB Organiser for further support advice and assistance.
GMB BASIC TRAINING
Shortly after completing the GMB@Work course and after you have had an opportunity to put your first plan into practice with your GMB Officer, you will be invited to attend the first of the basic training courses again in work time and again at a location as near to where you work as possible. Having put in place a good organising plan where you work, based on a detailed workplace map that you will continually update, the next key role of a GMB Workplace Organiser in the workplace is to ensure all members get the best and most immediate advice, information and representation you can give. As someone who works with your members, facing the same problems alongside them, for most issues that come up you will be the best person to help and advise them. Your GMB Officer will offer any back up and support you need-but you and your fellow GMB Workplace Organisers will be the first point of contact for GMB members where you work. This training will provide you with all the knowledge, skills and confidence you need to start to take on the job of representing your members individually with managers on personal grievances and disciplinary hearings and collectively on pay talks and other discussions with your employer.
GMB ADVANCED TRAINING
GMB Regional Offices also offer advanced training for GMB Workplace Organisers as they develop their skills further in the role. The first of these is training to become a fully accredited Safety Representative. We encourage all our Workplace Organisers to take this course. Further to this other courses run by your Region may include:
- Workplace industrial relations.
- Advanced organisation skills.
- Bargaining and communication skills.
- Equal rights.
Contact your GMB Organiser for more details of how you can find out what courses are on offer locally and how you can get onto these courses. Note: All of our courses are of course free to GMB representatives and carried out in normal working time. Your employer will give you time off to attend and will normally pay your wages during the course. You will need, of course, to notify your employer of any courses you have been invited to attend during work-time. Where GMB is recognised there should be no difficulty in getting paid time off to attend the regional training, but you may need to negotiate mutually acceptable times. If you meet with any difficulties, contact your GMB Officer, Senior GMB Representative where you work or Branch Secretary for assistance. Your Regional Education Officer will also be able to advise you of your options.
WHAT DOES A GMB WORKPLACE ORGANISER DO?
BUILDS GMB’S STRENGTH
The strength of the union in negotiations depends on its strength in the workplace. GMB’s goal is for 100 per cent workplace membership. It is difficult to claim to represent the workforce if both you and the employer know that many workers are not in the union. A GMB Workplace Organiser is always looking out for opportunities to increase the membership and make the union stronger.
COMMUNICATES AND INFORMS
You are the key point of contact between the union and its members so it’s important that you attend branch meetings to keep the union informed about members’ concerns and to keep your members up to date about union initiatives and campaigns. Your key tasks are to talk to your members, distribute your workplace newsletter and maintain workplace notice boards.
Members look to their reps for knowledge, experience and guidance. They will turn to you when they have a problem, or feel they are being unfairly treated. In general the issues on which union workplace organisers spend most time are health and safety matters and the way employees are treated by management.
You are the voice of the members in your workplace when dealing with the employer on issues that affect them and their working conditions. Sometimes you may be helping an individual member, such as one facing disciplinary action. At other times you may be meeting management on behalf of your members collectively.
SOLVES PROBLEMS IN THE WORKPLACE
The role of a workplace organiser these days consists of promoting fairness at work, bargaining for better conditions, as well as helping to resolve problems, deal with difficulties that arise in the workplace and tackling health and safety issues.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO THE JOB
This toolkit is designed to allow you to keep all the information you will need in one place. This can include whatever information you think it is useful to keep, minutes of meetings with management or, GMB Branch information for example. As a starting point you will need:
- GMB Workplace Organiser’s Tool kit.
- List of union members where you work.
- Membership application forms.
- Contact information for financial and other benefits of membership.
- GMB Officers’ names and contact details, phone and fax numbers and e-mail addresses.
- A list of GMB training courses and dates.
- GMB badge.
- GMB Rule Book.
- GMB Union Representatives credentials.
- Employer policies on grievance and disciplinary hearings.
- Your employer’s staff hand book.
- GMB@Work Notice board Pack.
- Your own workplace map.
- Current GMB Law at Work book.
- Contact details for the managers you deal with.
- Details of the current recognition agreement with your employer.
- Records of grievances and disciplinary hearings you are dealing with.
- Model grievance, disciplinary and failure to agree letters.
- Current workplace newsletters.
- Model workplace newsletters.
- Current GMB policies and campaigns, source GMB website www.gmb.org.uk
- Legal advice on time off work for GMB Workplace Organisers
Most of this information will be given to you in this pack or as part of your initial support training. However it will all need to be updated as time goes by and it is your responsibility to keep on top of developments. Your GMB Officer will help you with this.