What does a trade union representative do?

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

Trade union representatives have a major responsibility to help protect the interests of trade union members in the workplace every day. For this reason, Solidarity greatly values its representatives who act as the link between the trade union and its members on a daily basis.

It is important to realise that a representative is not an employee of the trade union but is an ordinary member of the trade union just like any other member. In a workplace with at least ten employees who are members of a representative trade union, the members of that particular trade union are entitled to elect representatives from within their own ranks who would then represent them as far as labour matters in the workplace are concerned.

The number of representatives that can be elected would depend on the number of employees who work at a particular workplace. Nominations and the election of representatives are governed by the constitution of the trade union they belong to. The functions and responsibilities of a trade union representative vest in the Labour Relations Act (No 66 of 1995), and those duties and responsibilities are used in conjunction with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (No 75 of 1997) to protect the rights of their fellow workers whom they are representing.

What is the definition of a representative?

A union representative in a workplace is a Solidarity member who has been elected as representative by the other members of the trade union as a result of his or her leadership abilities and the confidence members have in him or her to look after their interests.


What can a representative do for you?

Support: The first thing that comes to mind is that a representative deals with problems in the workplace, but sometimes a representative helps with much more than just job-related problems. Members are even supported in situations of a more personal nature when they don’t know where to find help otherwise.

Grievances: If you believe your employer has acted unfairly towards you or that your working conditions are not satisfactory, your union representative is the person who can assist you.

Disciplinary matters: Whether your matter is a minor or a major case, the union representative will be able to offer the necessary support and assistance.

Training: You can approach your representative if you want to find out more about further studies or training.

Advice: A union representative is the appropriate person to provide you with information on trade union and labour issues.

Conduit: Should the representative not be able to assist you, he or she would be in a position to escalate the issue and put you in touch with the right person.

Our main aim as trade union is still to protect you in the workplace. SMS MEMBER to 34802



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