Delegate of the Month - Anita
Published on: May 03 2017
Quite simply, "It's just about being fair."
Meet our active 'delegate of the month' the bright, vivacious and outgoing Anita Briggs from Woolworths Lake Haven!
Anita has been a SDA member for 9 years and a Union Delegate for 8 years.
She became a union delegate after seeing the need for someone at her site to be able to speak to management about unfair issues at work and fix them.
After "seeing that things were just not right", she felt her workplace needed a representative who was not afraid of approaching management. The SDA official at the time identified that Anita was fearless in standing up for herself and others and encouraged Anita to become a delegate.
Fast forward 8 years later and we asked Anita what it means to be a successful union delegate and what type of personal traits she finds useful. She identified the following:
Integrity- Anita says, "building a positive working relationship right across the board" is crucial to her being an effective workplace delegate. Anita possesses a professional demeanour at work and is a confident communicator both with members and management. Having years of experience and delegate training, management know that when Anita comes knocking with an issue, it's to be taken seriously because of the respectful working relationship built up over time. They know from experience that Anita possesses formidable professional integrity and that they would not be having a conversation about an issue unless it needed to be addressed. (They also know that Anita is like a 'dog with a bone' with issues and so it is worth their while to address them promptly!)
Honesty- is the foundation of building trust and integrity in the workplace. Anita says that honesty needs to be applied when dealing with management and when advising our members, she admits that at times our members may not like what they hear and this can be a challenge when being a delegate but there is no way getting around just being plain honest. Anita says, "sometimes the role requires being tough with management and tough with members."
Good Listener- being able to sort out what is a 'union' issue and what might be a personal issue is also a skill that is valuable. When issues are personal, it's important to refer to the appropriate support. When issues are identified as 'industrial', Anita is a stickler for the grievance procedure and guides and advises members through this process methodically to the end result.
Follow Up- the members at Anita's store appreciate her knowledge of EBA entitlements and workplace law. Anita emphasises that she doesn't know everything and what she doesn't know, she will make sure she finds out and get back to members as soon as she can as she believes 'following up' is important to ensure that issues get resolved completely.
Education-Knowledge is key in making sure that our members understand what their EBA entitlements are. Disseminating relevant industry information gathered from delegate training helps keep members up to date. Anita also introduces herself and the union to new starters and ensures that they become members of the SDA.
"I Care"- Anita is passionate about people. Anita is on the Safety Committee at work so wears a few hats. Having genuine care and engagement in your place of work for yourself and your fellow colleagues is a must.
"As a delegate you need to be prepared to stick your neck out and occasionally deal with crap".
When you are as passionate about people as Anita is, this isn't hard!
*Anita (middle) is pictured with members