There are two main areas of individual representation: grievances, when members are unhappy with something that management has done or failed to do; and discipline, when management are unhappy with an employee’s behaviour or performance.
Both should be covered by formal written procedures. This is important otherwise management are free to treat individuals in an arbitrary way, which can lead to unfairness and discrimination. It is a fundamental trade union principle that everyone should have the same rights at work and face the same sanctions. It is impossible to have a fair system where the rules are not written down and freely accessible to all staff.
All NHS employers have grievance and disciplinary procedures. These procedures should be the subject of consultation or negotiation with the staff side (trade unions may not want to ‘agree’ a disciplinary procedure but will certainly want to have an input). It is important that in the grievance procedure for both collective and individual grievances there is a ‘status quo clause’. This means that during the time it takes to follow the issue through the procedure the situation remains as it was before the problem arose. This prevents management from making unilateral changes.
If you require help or information please contact your Regional Officer. Further information is also available in the section of our website under Being a Rep. On that page you will find specific information in the download documents: Reps Handbook (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) on pp. 33-44 and in the Reps Handbook (Scotland) on pp. 36-48.
Nationally, the SoR has a Health and Safety Forum comprised of a health and safety representative elected by each of the Regional Representatives Committees and of members nominated by Council. The Health and Safety Forum meets twice a year to set health and safety goals for the SoR and to monitor progress against health and safety motions carried at the Annual Delegates Conference.
All SoR members have free access to the Labour Research Department's online publications.
This includes access to the full text of LRD booklets, Labour Research and Workplace Report. SoR reps in particular will find LRD booklets, such as Law at Work, useful in support of their roles. Simply click on the LRD link below for your free access.
There is now a search facility at the top of the LRD Booklet page that allows you to choose by title - this gives you a nice overview of all the different publications.
You can watch an instructional video on how to browse to the Booklet.
On occassion SoR will ask for its Reps and members to attend rallies. A guide to what to expect can be found here.