Workplace Delegates

Health Workers Union Workplace Delegates

In workplaces where the Health Workers Union (HWU) has a presence, workers that are members of the HWU will be represented by a Workplace Union Delegate or shop steward. The HWU acknowledges that there may be a number of unions with members in any particular workplace and respects the right that each union is represented by its own union delegate.

The term ‘delegate’ is used to refer to a wide range of HWU activists who might also be called departmental representatives, union contacts, shop stewards, and so on. As a consequence, the workplace delegate becomes a vital link or conduit of information between the union’s members in the workplace, the HWU representatives (organiser) and other union structures, such as the Branch Committee of Management (BCOM). 

The HWU is a democratic organisation, which means that all its members have an equal say in who is elected to represent them. The HWU recognises that workplace union delegates must be provided with appropriate training and support that empowers the delegate to conduct their roles with confidence. The HWU expects its workplace delegates to represent union members and conduct their duties in a professional, enthusiastic, effective and conscientious manner.

The workplace union delegate must be an employee of the workplace and not a full-time paid official of the HWU. A delegate is an active union member who is recognised in the workplace as the local union contact. 

The HWU expects the Union delegate to have a strong grasp of the English language and to be a proficient communicator and able to:

  • Use appropriate verbal and non-verbal communication skills;
  • Demonstrate leadership qualities and have the ability to work within groups; and
  • Develop and use strategies to ensure that the delegate is effective within the organisation.

Training for the HWU Delegate

The HWU encourages the HWU workplace delegate to regularly participate in professional development activities related to Leadership and Industrial Relations (and other related courses). The HWU will assist as required to ensure that the HWU workplace delegate can achieve the above standards and participate in professional development activities. HWU delegates have the right to reasonable paid time off to attend endorsed union professional development or training. Please visit the ACTU Education & Training page for more course information.


Rights and roles of a HWU workplace delegate

The HWU delegate has certain rights under the Fair-Work Act (2009) and various Enterprise Agreements. These rights allow the HWU delegate to carry out their roles and responsibilities.

  1. The HWU delegate must be treated equitably and allowed to perform their role as union delegate without any interference or discrimination from their employer.
  2. The employer must formally recognise endorsed union delegates are entitled to represent the members of the HWU employed in his or her area in dealings between those members and management.
  3. Take all reasonable and necessary steps to educate new employees about the benefits of union membership and enrol as members all eligible employees in their work area.
  4. Ensure that all members in his or her area are and remain financial (union dues are up to date).
  5. During the process of representing and consulting with union members, the HWU delegate is entitled to reasonable paid time and reasonably time off to participate in the operation of the union.
  6. In conjunction with the union Organizer and/or Industrial Team must bargain collectively on behalf of those they represent.
  7. Entitled to paid time to represent the interests of members to the employer and industrial tribunals.
  8. Where authorized in writing by the Branch Secretary, collect all fines, fees, levies and dues owing by members employed in his or her area, pay over all moneys so collected to the Branch Secretary at least monthly and obtain a receipt for the same.
  9. Immediately report to the Branch Secretary or her representative any complaint from a member in his or her work area or any breach or suspected breach of any agreement or award which is occurring or is suspected of having occurred in his or her area.
  10. Report to the Branch Secretary or her representative on any matter concerning his or her area as directed by the Secretary or the Branch Committee of Management.
  11. Take any action which is authorised or directed by the Branch Secretary or the BCOM.
  12. To establish a constructive working relationship with the workplace Health and Safety representative and encourage them to become HWU members.
  13. The HWU delegate must be consulted by their employer, and given access to reasonable information about the workplace and the business.
  14. Inform the HWU Organiser, Workplace Committee and HWU Members’ meetings about all relevant union matters.