If you have a problem in the workplace, your CSP steward or safety rep will always be your first point of contact – they are there to help
The CSP Diversity Networks annual development day took place at the CSP London office in September. The event, which was attended by 35 network members and open to all members of the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, DisAbility and LGBTQIA+ networks, consisted of joint sessions in the morning and individual network sessions in the afternoon.
For its session, the BAME network invited Jim Fahie, assistant director of Employment Relations and Union Services, and trade union organiser Alice Spilsbury to deliver presentations on:
- Fitness to practice.
- Capabilities, performance, management and CSP reps.
A key part of both of their sessions involved discussing what employment support offer was available to members, so we thought we’d take a look at what workplace support you can access as a CSP member.
Member support and representation is central to the CSP’s trade union structure, and we are committed to representing members, championing workplace rights and improving equity, diversity and belonging in physiotherapy.
The role of a CSP rep
Throughout the NHS, as well as in several other workplaces, CSP Employment Relations and Union Services (ERUS) assistance are founded on a structure of well-trained stewards, safety reps and equality reps. CSP reps are on hand to help members with any problems at work and are the first point of contact to access CSP ERUS services.
CSP reps are familiar with your workplace, they know local managers and HR staff, and have a greater understanding of local policies and procedures. They can offer advice, support and representation on any matter related to your employment.
Typically, this will concern pay, your employment contract, discrimination, disciplinaries, grievances and capability matter, injury or ill health. Where necessary, they can negotiate with your employer on your behalf.
Your local reps are supported by a network of regional stewards and safety reps, and by regionally based CSP officers, known as senior negotiating officers (SNOs). SNOs assist when local reps need extra help with resolving a problem or progressing a claim to improve working conditions.
Some reps are also supported by CSP equality reps – they work with the steward and safety rep as part of the workplace team to raise awareness and organise around equality issues.
SNOs and other ERUS officers, such as national officers and trade union organisers, undertake research, policy and advice work in a range of specialist areas. This extends to pay, grading, health and safety, employment law, equality and diversity, pensions, workforce development and other issues. Officers also respond to government proposals on employment and health policy and take part in employment negotiations.
Who we support
The CSP will support members raising complaints as well as those facing a complaint against them, regardless of its nature. The CSP will not judge the guilt or lack thereof in any given situation, however it is important for natural justice to be enabled by ensuring a robust process is undertaken, policies are adhered to and arguments for all sides are heard.
For those in the NHS, the local CSP steward is the first point of contact for all employment-related matters and the safety rep for any health, safety or welfare issues, such as manual handling, bullying, or workplace injuries.
Stewards and safety reps are less common in non-NHS organisations, with many not ‘recognising’ trade unions in the legal sense for the purposes of collective bargaining in the workplace. The existence of local stewards and safety reps is largely aligned with trade union recognition, so CSP members employed outside the NHS may need to contact the CSP on 020 7306 6666 if they have problems at work. The self-employed have different legal rights, please contact CSP enquiries: email@example.com.
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