Job description Staff Representative
As the Staff Representative it is your obligation to liase between staff members and the management to help create a fair work place for all staff. While performing this role it is likely that staff members may raise some issues that they find too sensitive to bring up with the management themselves. It is expected that you show compassion and professionalism throughout the entire process.
Serving your staff
Once elected make an effort to go around to every staff member to see if they have any issues that they would like brought up with management. It is best to do this a couple of times a year to remind staff that you are there to assist them and also quickly address any new issues.
As staff Rep, the organisation of staff functions is your responsibility. A larger function is held at the end of the year (Christmas Party), at this function, the staff and their partners are invited. A smaller mid-year function can also be arranged but is limited to staff members only.
Try to organise the Christmas party as early as possible otherwise all the good venues will not be available
Work Place Agreement Year
The workplace agreement is the legally binding set of conditions under which all employees of Bulleen Art & Garden work. It replaces the old system of award wages and conditions, which BAAG found too restrictive to meet the needs of most employees. Some businesses still operate under award conditions.
It is a legal requirement that each new workplace agreement is compared to the award to ensure that employees will not be worse off under the new agreement. This is called the ‘no disadvantage test.’ Once the workplace agreement has been agreed upon by staff and management, it then goes to Fair Work Australia to be independently assessed for the No Disadvantage Test.
The workplace agreement is reviewed and renegotiated every 3 years.
Your task is to represent the STAFF in their negotiations with management. This involves collecting input from staff and presenting it to management. Sometimes people will want anonymous representation. Sometimes the desires of others will not match your own, or those of other staff members. In that case, you still need to present all staff suggestions to management. Where there are conflicts, you need to be able to indicate to management the percentage of people who support one thing or the other.
1. Familiarise yourself with the current workplace agreement and the documents associated with it, such as the environmental policy and staff handbook.
2. Approach all staff members and ask them:
a) If they have read the workplace agreement and
b) if they have any suggestions for improving the workplace
Take a notepad and pen with you. Some people have a whole list of suggestions!
3. Collate the suggestions. Where there are opposing views you will need to organise a vote to assess which is the more favoured option.
Call as many staff meetings as you and the staff feel is necessary. These meetings are to be held without any managers present.
Management will probably give you an idea of when they would like each step of the process to occur. It is likely to be a relatively short period of time, as staff morale IS affected by the process of analysing our working conditions. When assessing these ‘deadlines,’ take the following into account:
– Do you need time to research new information or read through anything
Do you have enough time between each step to give staff any news
Do you need to hold a staff meeting and is there enough time to notify staff who wish to attend
Once a timeline has been established it is important that staff are made very aware of what will happen at each step and when each process will occur. The timeline can always be changed to ensure there is enough time to treat issues adequately. Don’t allow the process to drag on, though.
It is also important that staff understand the significance of each step, for example:
Not all staff suggestions will be accepted by management
The final vote is intended to signal the end of the process. If staff are not happy with their wages and conditions, the time to register dissatisfaction with the agreement is during the renegotiation period. If a significant number of people vote against the workplace agreement the process of renegotiation has to begin again which is a waste of time and paper.
The staff handbook and environment policy do not form part of the workplace agreement, but are referred to in it. This is a good time to review these documents as well. Many issues that come up can be dealt with in these documents.
Collecting Staff Suggestions
Work out which are the best days to be talking to staff- one weekday (Tue is usually good), Thursday afternoon (nightcrew) and perhaps a weekend day will catch most people. You will initially need a few hours (maybe 2-3) to be able to talk to staff on each of these days. You will need to arrange this time with your manager to fit in with other tasks.
You may need to ring some people, and others will respond to a call for written suggestions placed in a box, or on your clip.
Most issues do not need to be voted upon. If anything seems contentious a vote or ballot may need to be held. Call a staff meeting. Discuss with staff whether they want to vote with a show of hands or whether they would prefer an anonymous ballot. Sometimes staff just need time to think about the issues and it may be easier to distribute a ballot than to call another meeting for the vote. All interested staff should definitely be contacted and then it is fair to rely on the staff available over a couple of days to provide a representative view of the staff as a whole.
The only vote that requires the input of every single staff member is the final decision on whether we accept or reject the final draft of the proposed workplace agreement.
By the end of the process, you will have heard every grievance and some staff will not have had their every request fulfilled. Now is the time to organise a staff function to lighten the mood around the place!
Staff Representative Selection
The staff representative is voted at the beginning of each year at the first staff meeting. The vote is restricted to only those that attend the meeting.
The following process is normally used
1. Staff nominate each other
2. The nominated staff members either reject or accept the nomination
3. The nominated staff are voted for by the remainder of staff members though a ballot
4. The new Staff Representative is decided upon by the greatest number of votes