The key part of any representative's role is to represent their colleagues. For them to do this effectively:

  • employees need to know who is representing them; and
  • the representative needs to keep in touch with the views of the employees they represent.

This means that representatives will have to speak to the group of employees they represent regularly, and share information that you have given them.

Representing also involves investigating complaints made by an employee they represent about their health, safety or welfare in the workplace. They can then raise this with you to resolve the complaint.

Representatives can also bring up other health and safety issues of concern with employers. They may have attended a training course about a specific health and safety issue affecting the workplace and want to speak to you about putting into practice some of the suggestions they have brought back.

A representative might have spotted that the way you had agreed to resolve a particular issue was not working as well as expected but - having consulted workers - they could suggest a reviewed approach that could work better.

You need to:

  • take on board what the representatives have to say;
  • consider what they want to do; and
  • explain the reasons once they have decided what to do.

Having employee representatives does not preclude you from having direct dialogue with the workforce.

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