Erica Pickering

Erica PickeringI decided to become a workplace contact for Unison because I was aware of how much Unison and the reps had done for me over the years, not just in my role at the Uni, in other workplaces too. I wanted to give back a bit and be able to support my colleagues.

A workplace contact can be a bit of a bridge between members and the branch, a first point of contact and someone who can help to recruit new members. I offer advice on where members (and those thinking of joining) can go to get help, I distribute and put relevant information on notice boards.

It’s a relatively low key and informal role, which suits me as I have a busy job and home life to juggle, and still means I can help out. I’d really encourage anyone who thinks they might want to get involved to think about being a workplace rep, and seeing where that leads.

I work as a counsellor in the student hub, a part of the University that has had a lot of change in recent years, and that change continues. I am aware that it can be really hard for some people to stand up and say when things seem wrong, or when they need or want something to change in the workplace, and this can be for lots of reasons. So I wanted to be able to offer that support to help them do that, or be able to bring things up on their behalf. For me it is important to have our collective voices heard as a team of colleagues, and being a workplace rep for Unison is a great way of doing that. Unison is our way of getting that collective representation, and unless as members we are active in our own ways, the power of the collective can be diminished.