The role of a Workplace Rep Workplace

Workplace Representatives (Reps) are essential to the effective operation of your union. Reps are the link between members in the workplace, the union’s decision making bodies, and between workplace 

Being an AEU Rep means that you support Union values and want to contribute to building a fair and just society. You understand that the way to do this is by building power in our Union. A central part of this is recruiting and organising members at your workplace.

Reps have an important role to play in campaigns whether they are in the workplace, across the state or across the country. Empowering and educating members about union initiatives and encouraging participation in campaigns is your core business.

The Rep is also the first point of contact for AEU members seeking information about workplace issues, conditions and entitlements. Reps form a network of links amongst other Reps as well as with the AEU’s staff and elected positions.

A Rep has many opportunities to develop skills and experience in areas such as leadership, negotiation and conflict resolution. The AEU offers tailored training, advice and mentoring.

All Reps should use their Award entitlement to five days’ paid leave for union training to attend conferences and training. All Reps are required to attend initial training (New Reps training) to ensure that they are familiar with their role and the support available to them. Most members receive paid relief to attend training (this is not applicable to TAFE Division members). There is also a two-day AEU Workplace Leaders Convention, held annually.

Shorter training for small groups in a half-day or two-hour session, or one-to-one delivery, is also available. 

Obligations of Reps

The duties and expectations of an AEU Rep are set out in the Tasmanian Branch rules and state that a Rep shall:

  1. Attend an introductory Workplace Representatives’ training course and regularly attend subsequent training provided by the AEU.
  2. Attend and participate in regional or sector meetings of Reps, or arrange for the workplace to be represented.
  3. Maintain and/or improve membership levels at the workplace.
  4. Provide updated membership data to the State Manager.
  5. Inform and advise members of the services offered by the AEU.
  6. Be a contact point for members wishing to communicate with AEU Staff or AEU Staff wishing to communicate with members.
  7. Be a contact point for the distribution of AEU information and publications.
  8. Encourage members to help and support running of the sub-branch.
  9. Liaise with union officers on local issues with management and solve these at the workplace level where possible.
  10. Refer issues unable to be handled locally to union officers.
  11. Facilitate workplace discussion on possible agenda items for AEU Council meetings.
  12. Call a sub-branch (workplace) meeting prior to Council meetings to discuss agenda items

Rights and entitlements of a Rep

Your employer must recognise the authority of an AEU Rep and act reasonably in allowing you to effectively perform your role. In your position as Rep, you have a number of legal rights and they include access to:

  • paid leave to attend AEU training courses (up to five days per year)
  • a noticeboard for the display of AEU materials
  • administrative facilities including phones, photocopiers, internet
  • copies of employment awards, agreements, policies and procedures
  • up-to-date information on matters affecting employees
  • reasonable paid time to carry out union business

Workplace Returns

Updated Staffing Lists

  • Names of all AEU members
  • Names of all employees in your workplace (other than school attendants), identifying prospective members. 
  • Workplace information i.e. location, key contacts and Principal etc.

The Workplace Return provides information that allows us, working together, to build an accurate picture of membership patterns and areas of growth and opportunity.

It is important to include all Support Staff in these returns and to include people who may be away from the workplace, for whatever reason, such as on leave.

Reps are requested to update their union whenever there is any change to membership at their workplace. Reps should also remind members of their individual responsibility to inform their union of changes to their employment and personal details.

Key information needed for Workplace Returns is:

  • names of all AEU Reps in the workplace, done by completing a Recognition of AEU Rep form
  • name of the Health and Safety Rep (HSR)
  • full name (please check spelling is correct) of each person in the workplace
  • a member’s actual load worked – full time or fraction thereof
  • information about members who may have moved from the workplace
  • information about non-AEU members, including whether they are a member of another union