In the first week of each school year the current Reps, or active workplace members, need to call a workplace meeting to elect Reps.One Teacher Rep and one Support Staff Rep is normal for most workplaces.The AEU strongly encourages schools to endorse co-Reps to share the load and provide support and assistance to each other.

Electing Workplace Reps

Nominations for the role of Rep should be called for from within the membership of the workplace and, once received, an election held.

One member of the sub-branch should be appointed as returning officer and this person should conduct the ballot.If only one person nominates, members should be asked to endorse the appointment by a majority vote.

Once the Reps or co-Reps have been elected, the Recognition of Rep form should be completed and returned to the AEU. This is needed so that our records are kept up-to-date and to ensure effective communication.

Workplace Reps who are correctly elected, or endorsed, by their workplace will receive a certificate of acknowledgement from the AEU.

Ballots, elections and surveys

Ballots are most commonly held to decide whether members accept or reject a proposed employee agreement and whether members wish to take industrial action over an issue.

In the case of a paper ballot, Reps will receive a ballot paper from the AEU which they are to distribute, have completed and return.

Guide to running ballots

  • Call a meeting to inform members of the issue to be voted on.
  • Photocopy the ballot paper and initial each copy before handing it to members (or placing in pigeon holes).
  • The ballot should be open for about a week to ensure that part-time employees can participate• The ballots are anonymous
  • Return the completed ballots, or workplace tally of votes, to the AEU NB: Sometimes ballots are run online.

Guide to running an election

Workplace elections are usually less formal than ballots and are held to appoint people to positions such as Health & Safety Rep (HSR).They can be a simple show of hands or a paper-based secret ballot, depending on the decision of the sub-branch.


A few times a year, your union seeks input directly from members through online surveys. Most often, it is to gain a better understanding of contemporary issues affecting members and their ideas and beliefs about how such issues can be addressed.

These online surveys are short and emailed directly to members, taking only a few minutes to complete. The higher the completion rate of these surveys, the stronger the data and the clearer the picture about member opinion. R

eps need to encourage members to complete these surveys as, often, the outcome leads to important decisions about union policy and/or negotiating positions. 

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