Behind the scenes: Delegate education
In our workplaces, if members are our lifeblood, then delegates are the beating heart that keep the PSA alive.
More than 3400 of us are currently delegates, having been elected by our colleagues to lead our union activity, from recruitment to disciplinary meetings, from planning for the future to collective bargaining negotiations.
The scope of a delegates work can be huge, but not everyone does everything – we’re in this together for everyone’s benefit, and so we share the work with our fellow delegates and with other union members, alongside support from PSA staff.
It’s important that becoming a delegate isn’t seen as something scary, but rather is a welcoming and empowering action that everyone feels supported to take. When you are elected as a delegate, you’ll be sent out an introductory delegate guide that has a bunch of information about your rights, responsibilities, and where you can go to get advice if you need it.
You’ll also be enrolled in your first delegate course, called Building Positive Workplace Relationships (BPWR). This is a two-day course with a one-day follow up, and we hold it several times a year right around the country.
In the last twelve months, more than 900 PSA delegates have attended at least one of our regular courses, including not just BPWR, but also the level two Enhancing Productive Workplace Relations two-day course and our Bicultural Unionism one-day training.
Delegates at a recent training course in Wellington told Working Life that the training itself was good, but the best part was the space it created to get together with delegates from other parts of the PSA, and hearing about what is happening in their organisations.
Conversations to share recruitment strategies, great clauses in collective agreements, and ways to help raise member engagement are had across the two days, in the formal training and in the breaks.
Sometimes, delegates meet up again at other training courses, and it’s great to catch up with people again and see what’s changed in the intervening months.
Becoming a delegate is a great thing, and it’ll give you skills and experiences that will be with you for the rest of your life and help in your career and your community. Next year, at annual members’ meetings, we’ll be electing new delegates at every worksite – take the step and volunteer.
- Are the PSA’s representatives in our workplaces
- Elected for a term of two years at Annual Members’ Meetings
- Get specialised training across the country
By Asher Wilson-Goldman