There is important legislation that affects women in the workplace, and part of my role as Branch Women’s Officer, is to help advise women members on their rights at work. In addition to these rights, as a union which is formally recognised in the Trust, issues can be negotiated through partnership working.
An issue over the rate of part time workers payments for incidental overtime, is a current issue I am dealing with. This issue was raised as a collective grievance in 2009, by a group of women from Essex. They believed that paying them a lower rate of incidental overtime, compared to their full time equivalents was unfair and possibly discrimination; as the majority of part time workers in the trust are women.
Their grievance was not upheld by the Trust.
As a newly appointed Officer, I have researched this equality issue. I believe they had a strong case, and with a change in European law in 2010, this strengthens the argument for this issue to be reviewed in line with currently equality legislation. The issue and supporting research has gone to the Trust, through partnership working avenues. Further details to follow shortly.
Want to get more involved?
Another part of my role is to encourage more women to get involved in the union. This gives all women in the Trust a louder voice, and support to make positive changes to their working lives.
There are many ways to get involved – including becoming a member, activist, or standing as a rep in your workplace. There is specific training for women; which includes courses on confidence skills for activists:
These courses are free to attend as a UNISON member.
The BBC this week has reported on how women in business are under represented, and this is also true within UNISON.
If you feel you want to get more involved, why not consider standing as a Workplace Representative? There are (re)elections every year, although if your workplace does not currently have a rep, you could put yourself forwards now!
I’m keen to encourage more women to get involved, as I know first hand how getting more involved in UNISON is helping to make a positive change in my workplace. As well as supporting the campaigning on issues alongside my colleagues in North Norfolk, on issues we are passionate about, UNISON provides training, support and a shared community where your issues really do matter.
UNISON Women's Officer
UNISON Workplace Representative - North Walsham