CSP steward Jill Barker urges members to call on stewards for help at an early stage.
Your CSP workplace rep is often thought to be the person you turn to when things have gone wrong – often at the 11th hour. But many of you will never get to hear about the work going on behind closed doors, or in those quiet corridor chats that prevent things escalating in the first place.
Stewards work tirelessly to stop many issues getting to a formal stage. The most important lesson we learn is that getting in early and putting in the groundwork is vital. But this relies on CSP members coming to us early.
On a weekly basis your steward will have given advice and possibly intervened in an issue that will prevent escalation. Here’s two examples among hundreds that have been shared with us recently.
A CSP member had a clash of personality with a more senior staff member and felt she had nowhere to go. Stressed and upset, she approached her steward for friendly, impartial advice. The steward listened and advised, empowering the member to address the matter instead of letting it fester. This helped the member to start repairing her relationship with a more senior colleague.
Members of a physio team were finding their workload very stressful and it was beginning to affect staff health and wellbeing as well as turnover. They approached their steward. Together with the CSP workplace health and safety rep, they completed the CSP stress survey. This was presented to managers and, working in partnership, they initiated changes that nipped sickness absence problems and staffing pressures in the bud.
Early involvement of stewards is essential to prevent small issues becoming big ones. After 14 years’ experience as a steward, I can say that prevention is better than cure.
- Jill Barker chairs the CSP industrial relations committee. See also page 16
To find out more about CSP workplace reps, visit our Union support page and to contact your steward if you need support or call the CSP on: 020 7306 6666.
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