A Message to Unite Members
The extraordinary events we have seen unfold during the coronavirus pandemic have emphasised the vital role trade unions play. The crucial lobbying of government to ensure vital wage provision for both workers and the self-employed made clear the importance of unions political role in maintaining a strong voice for those we represent. The tireless work of our Health & Safety and Workplace Reps has driven best practice in managing the welfare of the workforce during the pandemic, putting people before profit. There is no doubt that without the actions of Unite Reps many more workers would not have had adequate provision of personal protective equipment, or safer working practices implemented. Huge challenges remain as the impact of the crisis continues to be felt across all sectors of the economy and our Reps will have a pivotal role in ensuring our members do not disproportionately shoulder the burden of this. Our Reps are at the forefront of defending jobs, pay, and terms and conditions.
Our elected Representatives are our greatest asset, never has this been more clearly demonstrated. Our education programme must continue to provide the appropriate training to support our Reps in carrying out their role in both the workplace and the wider community. And the programme will need to continue to adapt to whatever circumstances we find ourselves in. Since the necessary cessation of classroom teaching earlier this year we have run a number of new courses over Zoom such as Covid-19 Health & Safety Risk Assessments, Change, Negotiation & Communication, Redundancy Consultation and Covid-19 Equality Impact Assessment Workshops. All courses aimed at providing support to our activists in facing the challenges arising from the pandemic.
Prior to the cessation of classroom-based Reps training due to Covid-19, the numbers of those attending across the Region were again up on the previous 12-months. Aside from the numbers of our activists taking part in the programme, the level of engagement with our team of tutors and amongst the Reps themselves, has ensured that knowledge, experience and skills – and lively debate – continue to be shared in the courses. We wish to build on this progress over the next year, even as we need to take account of provisions needed to maintain safe working. This academic year 2020/21 will also take in the triennial Reps elections with the education programme offering the necessary training for new reps.
We have now launched our initial programme for the new academic year 2020/21. We will be adding more courses wherever possible so keep any eye out for announcements. As a result of Covid-19 we are currently delivering our courses through online ‘virtual classroom’ technology. This features full interaction with your tutors and fellow Reps, group work in breakout rooms and all the necessary information and resources provided to you. Crucially the courses still attract paid release from your employer for the duration of the course.
You can view the latest update to our programme at https://south-west.unitetheunion.org/member-services/education and apply by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org giving your name, membership number and the title and dates of the course you are applying for.
Please ensure you apply for paid release from your employer to attend a course and provisionally book the time off with them. If you encounter any problems in securing release please contact your Regional Officer.
Thank you for your continued support, in solidarity.
South West Regional Education Officer
As an elected Workplace Representative it is essential you access your initial training as soon after election as possible. Your initial training consists of Module 1A and 1B. It is best to book both courses at the same time to ensure you have a place reserved on each course.
This course is designed to be the core initial training for Unite workplace reps. The course covers the wide range of knowledge and skills needed by the new Rep including:
• Key skills for organising your workplace
• Handling discipline and grievance cases
• Communication skills
• Introduction to Employment Law Equality at Work
For reps who have completed Module 1A.
This course covers:
• Evaluating and assessing your experience since the Stage 1 course
• Understanding the concept of ‘good work’
• Understanding and dealing with Issues around Dignity and Respect in the workplace
• Problem solving skills
• Bargaining skills
• Work-life balance
• Building a strong workplace union
For reps who have completed Modules 1A & 1B.
The course covers:
• Improving confidence and knowledge in exploring, questioning and using employment law
• Exploring research skills and developing the ability to find out how legal provisions impact on your members rights in the workplace
• How changes to employment law impact on your workplace rights
• Planning alternative solutions other than employment law to your workplace issues
• Working as a team to develop collective actions
The course is designed for representatives as follow on training for those that have completed Modules 1A, 1B and 2A.
This course covers:
• Rights to information
• Workplace Rights
• Collective Bargaining
• The Case for Collective Agreements
• Planning for getting an agreement
• Collective Bargaining and Negotiation
As an elected Health & Safety Representative it is essential you access your initial training as soon after election as possible. Your initial training consists of Module 1A and 1B. It is best to book both courses at the same time to ensure you have a place reserved on each course.
This course is the essential course for all new Unite Health and Safety Representatives. It is designed to help you build the skills, knowledge and confidence to organise effectively in order to carry out your work as a Safety Rep as well as to create understanding of how economic and others aspects affect the working lives, health, safety and welfare of working people.
The course covers:
• Understanding the role of a Unite Safety Rep
• The legal framework of Health and Safety
• Rights of Safety Reps
• Involving the members in Health and Safety
• Accident Investigations – Risk Assessments
The course develops the skills and knowledge learnt in Module 1A:
• Examining your workplace risk assessment and evaluating them
• Understanding health & safety audits and company accident statistics
• Appreciate health & safety legislation including aspects of criminal and civil law
Module 2A of Unites Health & Safety training builds upon the knowledge learnt in Modules 1A and 1B.
The course covers:
• Assessment of workplace action plan
• Understanding COSHH and related hazards
• Carrying out a workplace audit
• Explore manual handing and ergonomic risks
• Creating a healthier work environment
Designed to give all Unite Reps the confidence and knowledge to address equality and diversity issues, the course provides a comprehensive overview of equality in the workplace.
On completion of the course Reps should be able to:
• Recognise equality issues within the workplace
• Know what constitutes discrimination, harassment and bullying
• Challenge their perception of equality & diversity
• Understand the key points of new equalities legislation, measures and legal decisions
• Decide how best to support workers in response to new equalities legislation
• Use interviewing techniques to deal with individual and workplace equality issues
• Develop equality policies and practice
This course is designed to be the core initial training for all Unite Union Learning Reps (ULRs). It helps them develop the basic knowledge and skills needed as a new Rep, enabling them
to work with colleagues in the workplace to analyse training needs. The course forms a solid foundation for the new ULR to develop their skills and their own personal development.
We offer a wide range of additional courses open to representatives. You may find some of these suitable for enhancing your existing skills. We advice that you complete your initial reps training before accessing these additional courses.
The course is designed to assist Reps who will deliver union presentations to newly recruited employees, often as part of the induction process. The course looks at the topics that can be covered in a presentation, approaches to presenting and how to overcome objections to joining. We use a generic PowerPoint presentation on Unite as a starting point to be developed within the session so that Reps can take away a tailored version focussed on their own workplace. We also look at what Union Facilities Agreements say about access to new starters and what information Reps are entitled to under General Data Protection Regulations.
This course is designed to provide an understanding of the full range of different pension schemes reps are likely to encounter in the workplace, as well as covering state provision, auto enrolment, pension protections and the role of the ombudsman. We aim to enable workplace representatives to develop their understanding and skills to better support their members and gain confidence in dealing with pensions as part of the bargaining process.
This course will help Reps develop a better understanding on mental health issues and how they affect members in the workplace. You will develop a better understanding of Disability Discrimination Law and how it applies to people with mental health illnesses. The training will enable you to develop a strategy to deal with workplace mental health issues and ensure employees are not discriminated against.
Unconscious bias is something that we all have and is where we have a preference for someone who looks like us, or shares our values, which can result in discrimination in the workplace.
Unconscious bias influences decisions in recruitment, promotion and performance management and is something that is present in all of us.
This one-day course will give reps:
• An understanding of unconscious bias;
• How to overcome your own unconscious bias; and
• The benefits of taking action in the workplace to counter
the impact of unconscious bias working towards a more
The Branch Secretary is a key player in the Unite team. The concept of this course is to develop Branch Secretaries within Unite by providing them with the knowledge and skills, and nurturing their passion, to drive forward the ideology of our union, to develop our activist base and grow and strengthen our membership. This course is designed for all new Branch Secretaries, and for those who have not attended the course recently.
The course covers:
• The administrative role of the Branch Secretary
• How the union works
• How ‘lay democracy’ starts at local branch level
• Understanding organisation procedures
• Encouraging active participation within the Unite structure
• Branch Finance
• Understanding the ‘Strategy for Growth’ and the crucial role that the branch plays
• Setting out a local ‘strategy for growth’ for recruitment, retention and participation in branch life
• Branch Portal
• Chairing and Organising Skills
The Public Speaking course is ran over two days and concentrates on the theory of public speaking, addressing the anxieties people encounter when speaking in public and using footage to illustrate tips and techniques. On the second day you will be delivering a speech to your group and receive positive feedback from the tutor and your course peers.
Essential additional training for all Reps to better understand the impacts on safety, wellbeing and the potential for discrimination in the workplace. A general lack of understanding of the symptoms and impacts of the menopause, and employers’ duties under both health & safety legislation and the Equalities Act, leaves women workers particularly vulnerable. This course seeks to tackle this issue by ensuring reps have an understanding of the physical and psychological impact as well as the legislative framework within which to operate to help
members and employers better deal with any issues that may arise in your workplace.
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