Delegate of the month - Mark
Mark is a Delegate at Coles Cessnock. He has been a member for almost five years and a Delegate for four years.
Mark was recently one of a select group of Delegates from the SDA Newcastle & Northern Branch who were publicly recognised in the Australian Parliament for their contribution and dedication to securing the new Coles Agreement!
Along with other Delegates, Mark’s efforts and hard work in explaining the proposal to co-workers and encouraging them to participate in the ballot, helped achieve an overwhelming majority of 90% voting yes for the new Agreement.
Here’s what Mark had to say about his role as a Delegate.
Why did you become a Delegate?
Some years ago, I had been through a couple of really tough scenarios at work due to conflict with my Managers. It really opened my eyes as to how employees/staff are treated sometimes. Honestly, I was shocked and disappointed. In the end it led me to quit.
When I decided to return to employment, I was asked about my interest in becoming a Delegate and I jumped at the chance. My Delegate who helped me through my issues previously had been wonderful, and I wanted to be able to help my co-workers in the same way.
What has been your most notable achievement in the workplace?
I recently helped an employee through a very serious safety investigation where his job was on the line. I attended several hours’ worth of meetings to represent the member, often dealing with confronting situations. I was proud of how I helped the member and of how I handled the situation. With my Organiser's valuable advice, we were ultimately able to save the job of a a very decent young man.
Why is recruitment important?
Recruitment is crucial as the Union does not exist and function without a strong membership base. It is all about us coming together as a group and standing as one. The more members we have, the stronger we are!
What campaigns have you been involved with and why are they important?
During the recent Coles EBA rollout, I took the opportunity to get involved in running meetings just about every day, as well as out-of-work time. I felt it was important to have a store level Delegate doing a lot of the explaining, as the new Agreement had some major changes.
I wanted the staff members to know they had someone available on hand to speak to about it. I worked as hard as I could to help secure the new Agreement for the benefit of everyone.
What do you aim to achieve in your workplace in the next 12 months?
I hope to continue to make the employees in our store more of a team, with a positive work environment. Often people think they are alone with workplace issues or problems when most of the time there are others who feel the same. My aim is to get people more involved with each other, and hopefully enhanced morale and positivity will follow!
What do you get most out of the role as a Delegate?
I've got to say the feeling of camaraderie that ensues after getting a win for a member! The member appreciates the effort, and often after hearing about it other staff will congratulate us as well. It’s a good feeling not only to help but also to be recognised for it, and in turn build connections with people.
What have you enjoyed most so far?
Just the opportunity to talk to more people! Whether it’s something big or small, being able to chat with my work mates about our working experience gives me satisfaction. I have gotten to know so many people on a personal level through this role as well, which is something that I have enjoyed immensely.