The PSA invests in skill-development courses for our 3,800+ delegates around the country. Many say the skills and confidence they’ve gained as delegates have enhanced their career prospects. Some of New Zealand’s most senior public servants were once PSA delegates.

Delegates play an important role in building the union’s influence at work, whether it’s to do with improving pay and conditions or giving members a collective voice in the decisions that affect their work.

The role of the delegate is to act as a democratic leader and represent PSA members in the workplace. Relationship building is key to the role of a delegate – with members, fellow delegates and with management.

The PSA cannot function without good organisation in the workplace; that is sufficient numbers of members, active participation of members in the PSA, good delegate networks, and good engagement with management. It is delegates who facilitate both organisation and engagement.

Interested in nominating or becoming a delegate?

Delegates are elected by their colleagues to coordinate and lead union activities in our workplaces.

Once a form has been signed and seconded, make sure its sent to Delegate@psa.org.nz or post to PSA, PO Box 3817, Wellington, 6140.

PSA delegates are a part of a team. Even after you’ve done your training, you’ll be supported by other delegates and your PSA organiser. You can also contact the PSA Organising Centre if you need quick advice over the phone.

PSA organisers are there to support delegates and provide information, advice and guidance.

The union also provides an extensive delegate development programme, opportunities to meet and discuss issues, and extensive information resources.

There is plenty of evidence to show that employers also benefit from a strong, collective union voice. It improves the work environment and this in turn enhances productivity and the quality of services.

The PSA works to support delegates by:

  • establishing regular delegate meetings;
  • encouraging members and employers to value and respect the work of the delegate;
  • being clear about the roles and responsibilities of delegates, including the plans and priorities of the union in a particular enterprise and the roles of national delegates on sector committees;
  • ensuring delegate structures enable direct engagement with the employer’s management structures, and that delegates have clear constituencies;
  • getting appropriate delegate facilities clauses in collective agreements – including time release;
  • ensuring delegate development and training needs are identified and met (by the PSA delegate  development team ) so that skills and competence are achieved and practiced;
  • encouraging delegates to operate effectively as a group, supporting each other.

  • Encourage people to join the union
  • Keep members up to date with union news
  • Help develop a collective view on workplace and bargaining issues
  • Help resolve workplace problems
  • Involve members in workplace decisions
  • Represent members’ views to management
  • Support members who ask for help
  • Link between members and organisers
  • Make the union visible in the workplace
  • Facilitate union meetings
  • Connect to wider delegate networks

Click here to open our resource page for delegates and members in another window.

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 and online. 

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.

Delegates:

  • 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