SoR rep shares the importance of union work

As Heart Unions Week celebrates the important work of unions across the country, SoR reps have explained their passion for the work

Published: 15 February 2024 Trade Union & IR

Heart Unions Week, an event run by the Trade Unions Congress, offers union members a chance to explain the importance of their work and encourage those not yet in a union to join.

Taking place from February 12-18, the SoR is encouraging members to participate in the Heart Unions Week campaign, and for current members to consider training as representatives of the Society.

As part of the awareness week, the SoR has spoken to representatives to understand their passion for union work, how they got involved, and the importance of what they do. 

Invaluable experience

Caroline Handley, deputy director of National Elective Services at NHS Golden Jubilee, explained she became an SoR industrial relations rep as a newly-qualified radiographer.

“The experience that I gained was invaluable, as I participated in on-call and shift negotiations with other unions as well as management colleagues,” Ms Handley said. “Developing the skills to concisely outline the concerns of the staff group and facilitate negotiations to find a way forward was a steep learning curve, however I had peer support from the reps forum and the SoR full time officer. 

“The role was extremely rewarding when a successful outcome was achieved for an individual or a team.”

Ms Handley said the role involves participation in National Imaging and Allied Health Professional meetings, and that attending these meetings helped her to understand what was happening in the workplace in other parts of the country and other professions, broadening her knowledge and increasing her visibility within the radiology community.

Confidence and skills

She added: “My career led me to choose a management pathway. I have held roles at various levels within the diagnostic imaging structure. I believe that the confidence and skills gained throughout my time as an SoR rep ensured that I had a well-rounded knowledge of how the NHS organisation works and how to influence change. 

“I am now a director of several services within imaging and I believe that the grounding gained as an industrial relations rep has enhanced my ability to achieve positive outcomes for the teams. I am not sure that I would have believed that I would be sitting at the other side of the table when I was a newly qualified rep, but that’s progress!”

For more information about becoming an SoR representative, please go here.