Unite the Union nominations and *Elections for shop stewards – Health & Safety-Equality – Union Learning- representatives in West Lothian Council



There are currently  unite rep nominations  and *elections period open  from

 Friday  27th of July  Friday 09 August

from  members in the following trade groups Plasterers and Gas Engineers  within building services  in West Lothian Council

Members who are  interested  and eligible can be nominated and proposed by another Unite member there are nomination /election notices up on notice boards across the Kirkton and Whitehill service centres for vacancies for reps within building services.

Any unite member has to be  Unite rule 6 compliant  in order to  be nominated or seconded a  member for  reps position  https://unitetheunion.org/media/1383/unite-rule-book-june-2018.pdf



6.1 The Executive Council shall make provision to ensure accountability of
Regional, Industrial and Equalities Executive Council members and those
Executive Council members elected pursuant to rule 14 shall meet with
their respective National Industrial Sector, National Equalities or Regional
Committees at least four times per year.
6.2 In order to be eligible to be a candidate for election to the Executive
Council and/or any committee, council, or other body of the Union
provided for by these rules, the member in question must be an
accountable representative of workers, with the exception of Area
Activists Committees and Regional Labour Party Liaison Committees and
the young members’ structure, other than the Young Members’ delegate
to the Executive Council and Regional Committees as specified elsewhere
in these rules.
6.3 The definition of the term “accountable representative of workers” shall
be in the exclusive power of the Executive Council, which is empowered
to take into account changing industrial realities and the unique nature
of some industries (e.g. construction, contracting, leisure, rural etc) in
formulating such a definition. It must nevertheless include Branch officeholders who are in employment when employed by an organisation that
is not Unite the union, shop stewards, health & safety, equalities and
learning representatives elected at their place of work.
6.4 It is further required that a fair procedure be developed by the Executive
Council to deal sympathetically with cases where a member’s eligibility to
stand for election or continue to hold office may be affected by employer
6.5 The electoral period to hold lay office shall be three years unless otherwise
provided for under these rules.
6.6 The Executive Council shall issue guidance to establish the right of recall
over members elected to lay office.
6.7 All Unite fulltime officers assigned to the Union’s constitutional
committees are responsible for maintaining an up to date record of
constitutional committee members’ credentials in order to ensure
compliance with Rule 6. This record is to be reported to all constitutional
committee meetings and included in the Minutes.
6.8 To be eligible to stand for election as an accountable representative of
workers members must be committed to the Objects of the Union as
defined in Rule 2 including strengthening the workplace organisation and
resources of the Union.
Members who are engaged in the recruitment of members to a union
that is not Unite the Union are excluded from standing as accountable
representatives of workers within Unite the Union.
In the case of any such restriction imposed on a member, an appeal may
be made to the Regional Committee in line with the provisions of Rule 27.
6.9 Members seeking election as accountable representatives of workers must
have made at least thirteen weeks of financial contributions and not be
more than thirteen weeks in arrears.
This clause may not be applied in the case of newly organised workplaces


In the event of more than one  Unite member indicating they wish to stand and they are correctly prosed and seconded 

* There will only be an election if more than one member is proposed and seconded for a particular  constituency if there is only one nominee that person is automatically the rep on the date the nomination/electoral period closes if there is more than one Unite will conduct an election details will be conveyed to the appropriate members in the constituencies  involved. 

The Role of a Rep


The role of a Trade union representative

From TUC Workplace Manual

tuc logo

About this resource

This is a chapter from the TUC Workplace Manual. Every rep will find The TUC Workplace Manual invaluable, and every rep will appreciate the wealth of practical advice and knowledge in this book. 

Order your copy now from the online shop. Or for bulk orders please download the this form (PDF).

role of a rep unite


Local representatives are important because they are the backbone of their union. Without representation at workplace level there would be no-one to act as the link between members, the employer and the union and no-one to organise, represent and negotiate on behalf of people in the workplace.

Here’s a shortlist of some of the things union reps get involved in:

  • recruiting members into the union and organising them around workplace issues
  • talking to members about workplace issues, advise them and keep them informed of the latest developments
  • representing members who have problems
  • branch work and the wider union
  • negotiations with the employer.

Even so, depending on the nature of workplace and branch organisation not all union representatives necessarily have the same roles within the union team.

For instance:

  • Not every rep gets involved in workplace disciplinary problems, although all would be interested in the outcome of individual representation cases.
  • All union reps will talk to supervisors and managers as a matter of routine but not all union reps will be involved directly face-to-face negotiations over key issues.

Why become a union representative?

There are all sorts of reasons. People may:

  • be good communicators and their work colleagues think that they would be good in the role
  • feel strongly about issues and want to change things for the better
  • be dissatisfied with something at work and want to have the rights of a representative to influence members and management
  • be persuaded to have a go by other union reps looking for strengthen the union team
  • be pleased with the outcome of a personal case that was handled by the union and want to give something back
  • be the only one to do the job because nobody else will try.

The way a union rep is chosen depends on the rules of their union. It will involve the relevant members and might be done a meeting, or via a postal ballot but once the decision is made the union will need to approve the appointment. The role new rep can take up their role once the employer has been notified by the union.

Different representatives, different roles

There are several types of union representative, with separate roles, although sometimes different names are used to describe them:

  • Union representative or steward – has statutory rights to represent members in the workplace and carry out other workplace duties.
  • Health and safety representative – has statutory rights to cover many aspects of health, safety and welfare in the workplace and attends health and safety committee meetings. In most unions the union representative and the health and safety representative are two separate positions. In other unions, once you become a union representative you are automatically the safety representative. They are, however, different roles.
  • Union learning representative – has statutory rights for promoting and organising education and training in their own workplace.
  • Equality representative – covers all aspects of promoting, organising and negotiating equality and fairness at work (see section on Equality).
  • Senior steward or convenor – is a union representative with a lot of experience of dealing with workplace issues and will represent the workforce at meetings with management to negotiate pay or changes in working conditions.
  • Union full-time officer – can be elected or appointed according to the union rule book. This officer works full-time for the union and supports all regional union activities and representatives. Their main function is to become involved in members’ cases when they reach a higher level with management. Some unions also employ fulltime organisers to support branches.

Useful advice taken from experienced union reps

  • Meet regularly with the employer and managers, both informally and informally, to get to know them. This is useful when planning how to take up an issue or in planning improvements in pay, terms and conditions.
  • New representatives can shadow other more experienced colleagues in those meetings too. They can also get training from their union and the TUC as well as backup from experienced representatives and branch officers at work. (There’s more information on this in Section 2 of this manual).
  • A union rep can’t do everything on their own. Reps often become involved in different activities depending on experience, skills and time. Union reps need to work together as a team, supporting each other, even if there are only two in the workplace!
  • Union reps need to be communicators, letting their members know what they are doing and why. This doesn’t necessarily involve speeches at big meetings. The best way is through day-to-day conversation. If they are away from the workplace they should let their work colleagues know where they are.
  • Publicise union successes in negotiating with management and representing members in individual cases. Everyone in the workplace will be interested, it will help to retain support from members and open the door to recruit new ones.
  • Sometimes union members feel they can sort out issues on their own but everyone should be encouraged to see the union reps as their first resort, not their last!
  • Union reps are problem solvers but think the problem through first. Members may highlight workplace problems that perhaps need taking up with managers. Be careful though, sometimes an issue can be the result of a misunderstanding and not the sort of thing that needs to be raised with managers.
  • It can be useful to approach management to seek an informal solution to problems. That could be done through a brief meeting with the line manager, or even through a phone call. Take advice from someone with experience to help ensure that a problem isn’t made worse.
  • If that doesn’t work speak to senior workplace reps about using formal procedures. That should always be a collective decision by the union team and advice may be needed from the relevant union officer. Taking a step by step approach means better planning and will increase the chances of a successful outcome.
  • Apply collective thinking to representation work. Some issues arising from an individual case often turn out to be ‘collective’ in the sense that they affect a number of other people, not just the person who brought the problem forward in the first place.
  • This should always be borne in mind because taking up problems with the employer collectively can provide a stronger base from which to progress. Working with other union reps on issues that affect their members too can have more impact. It also means that the union can work towards resolving the underlying causes of discipline or grievance cases that come up again and again. That can make a big reduction in the number of cases union reps gets involved with, saving time and energy for other things. Management too gain from such an approach because it can help to make the workplace more efficient by also removing the causes of concerns that they also have.
  • What about non-members? Well, unions are membership organisations funded almost entirely from members’ contributions. As a representative you should take every opportunity to encourage people to join the union. However, it must be noted that most people do come to the union in times of trouble or if they have a grievance. They will not normally be able to get assistance for things that happened before they became a member.
  • What if there is a complaint against another member? It may well happen that a rep takes up an issue for a union member against another person who is also a member of the same union. That member is entitled to representation too although not through the same union rep. There is a need to careful, to be fair and to ensure that confidential information is not shared. Advice should be sought from the union to try and make sure the right approach is being taken.
  • What if a union rep feels they cannot help? Although union representatives should always try to assist members, in some cases they may feel unable to help because they:
  • are too close to the issue and cannot be unbiased
  • know the member(s) involved too well
  • feel out of their depth and without the relevant experience to take a case forward, e.g. the case is too complex
  • fear that winning a case could adversely affect others’ terms and conditions
  • have been advised by the union that the case is not likely to succeed
  • are concerned that a member has refused to take the advice of a representative on how to pursue a case.

In any of these circumstances, another rep should take up the case or a union full-time official, particularly if the case is complex.

  • Even when a member has contributed fully to the circumstances they are in, a representative can play an important role in ensuring that any disciplinary action taken against that member takes into account extenuating circumstances, is appropriate to the case and not inconsistent with other previous disciplinary decisions by the employer.
  • Sometimes, after pursuing a case through the available procedures, it may be that the workplace unions feels the case has reached the end of the line and no further progress can be made. Union reps should take advice on this.
  • Legal advice or legal representation is not generally appropriate or necessary. Reps should avoid giving interpretations of the law or promising success in a case. Every effort should be put into resolving employment relations problems at workplace level. If that is not done it is likely be the first issue picked up if the case gets as far as an employment tribunal hearing.





Section 2 – Training of Trade union representatives in aspects of employment relations and employee development

Training is important for union representatives to enable them to carry out their duties effectively. Training should be available both to newly appointed and to more established union representatives. It is desirable, from time to time where resources permit it, for joint training and development activities between union representatives and managers to occur.


21. Employees who are union representatives of an independent trade union recognised by their employer are to be permitted reasonable time off during working hours to undergo training in aspects of industrial relations relevant to the carrying out of their trade union duties. These duties must be concerned with:

  • negotiations with the employer about matters which fall
    within section 178(2) TULR(C)A and for which the union is recognised to any extent for the purposes of collective bargaining by the employer
  • any other functions on behalf of employees of the employer
    which are related to matters falling within section 178(2) TULR(C)A and which the employer has agreed the union may perform
  • matters associated with information and consultation
    concerning collective redundancy and the Transfer of Undertakings, and the negotiation of an agreement under Regulation 9 of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employees) Regulations.

Matters falling within section 178(2) TULR(C)A are set out in paragraph 13 above.

22. The Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977 regulation 4(2)(b) requires that employers allow union health and safety representatives to undergo training in aspects of their functions that is ‘reasonable in all the circumstances’.

Further advice on the training of health and safety representatives is provided by the Health and Safety Executive in their approved Code and Guidance ‘Consulting workers on health and safety’. This is not covered in this Acas Code.

23. Employees who are Trade Union Learning Representatives are also permitted reasonable time off during working hours to undergo training relevant to their functions as a Union Learning Representative.

What is relevant employment relations training?

24. Training should be in aspects of employment relations relevant to the duties of a union representative. There is no one recommended syllabus for training as a union representative’s duties will vary according to:

  • the collective bargaining arrangements at the place of work, particularly the scope of the recognition or other agreement
  • the structure of the union
  • the role of the union representative
  • the handling of proposed collective redundancies or the transfer of undertakings.

25. The training must also be approved by the Trades Union Congress or by the independent trade union of which the employee is a union representative.

26. Union representatives are more likely to carry out their duties effectively if they possess skills and knowledge relevant to their duties. In particular, employers should be prepared to consider releasing union representatives for initial training in basic representational skills as soon as possible after their election or appointment, bearing in mind that suitable courses may be infrequent. Reasonable time off could also be considered, for example:

  • for training courses to develop the union representative’s skills in
    representation, accompaniment, negotiation and consultation
  • for further training particularly where the union representative has
    special responsibilities, for example in collective redundancy and transfer of undertakings circumstances
  • for training courses to familiarise or update union representatives on
    issues reflecting the developing needs of the workforce they represent
  • for training where there are proposals to change the structure and
    topics of negotiation about matters for which the union is recognised; or where significant changes in the organisation of work are being contemplated
  • for training where legal change may affect the conduct of
    employment relations at the place of work and may require the reconsideration of existing agreements
  • for training where a union representative undertakes the role of
    accompanying employees in grievance and disciplinary hearings.

27. E-learning tools, related to the role of union representatives, should be used where available and appropriate. However, their best use is as an additional learning aid rather than as a replacement to attendance at approved trade union and Trades Union Congress training courses. Time needs to be given during normal working hours for union representatives to take advantage of e-learning where it is available.

Training for Union Learning Representatives

28. Employees who are members of an independent trade union recognised by the employer are entitled to reasonable paid time off to undertake the functions of a Union Learning Representative. To qualify for paid time off the member must be sufficiently trained to carry out duties as a learning representative:

  • either at the time when their trade union gives notice to their
    employer in writing that they are a learning representative of the trade union
  • or within six months of that date.

29. In the latter case, the trade union is required to give the employer notice in writing that the employee will be undergoing such training and when the employee has done so to give the employer notice of that fact. During the six month period in which he or she is undergoing this training, the Union Learning Representative must be allowed time off to perform their duties.It should be confirmed by the union in a letter that the training undertaken is sufficient to allow the Learning Representative to undertake their role and it is good practice for the union to give details of the training which has been completed and any previous training that has been taken into account. In the interests of good practice, the six month qualifying period may be extended, with agreement, to take into account any significant unforeseen circumstances such as prolonged absence from work due to ill health, pregnancy, bereavement or unavoidable delays in arranging an appropriate training course.

30. To satisfy this training requirement an employee will need to be able to demonstrate to their trade union that they have received sufficient training to enable them to operate competently in one or more of the following areas of activity relevant to their duties as a Union Learning Representative:

analysing learning or training needs

  • this could for example include understanding the different methods
    for identifying learning interests or needs, being able to effectively identify and record individual learning needs or being able to draw up a plan to meet identified learning requirements.

providing information and advice about learning or training matters

  • including, for example, the development of communication and
    interviewing skills
  • knowledge of available opportunities, in order to be able to provide
    accurate information to members about learning opportunities
    within and outside the workplace
  • the ability to signpost members to other sources of advice and
    guidance where additional support is needed, for example, basic
    skills tutors or fuller in depth professional career guidance.

arranging and supporting learning and training

  • for example, obtaining and providing information on learning
    opportunities including e-learning where available, supporting and encouraging members to access learning opportunities and helping to develop and improve local learning opportunities.

promoting the value of learning and training

  • some examples of this activity could be, understanding current
    initiatives for the development of learning and skills in the workplace, promoting the value of learning to members and within trade union networks and structures, working with employers to meet the learning and skill needs of both individuals and the organisation, and appreciating the value of learning agreements and how they may be developed.

31. An employee could demonstrate to their trade union that they have received sufficient training to enable them to operate competently in one or more of these areas of activity by:

  • completing a training course approved by the Trades Union
    Congress or by the independent trade union of which the employee is a Union Learning Representative, or by
  • showing that they have previously gained the relevant expertise and
    experience to operate effectively as a learning representative.

In the latter case, previous experience and expertise gained in areas such as teaching, training, counselling, providing careers advice and guidance or human resource development, may well be relevant, as may periods of extensive on-the-job training and experience gained in shadowing an experienced Union Learning Representative.

32. Reasonable time off should also be considered for further training to help Union Learning Representatives develop their skills and competencies.

33. Although not required by law it is recognised that there would be clear advantages both to the individual and the organisation if training undertaken leads to a recognised qualification standard.

Payment for time off for training

34. An employer who permits union representatives or Union Learning Representatives time off to attend relevant training, must pay them for the time off taken. The employer must pay either the amount that the union representative or the Union Learning Representative would have earned had they worked during the time off taken or, where earnings vary with the work done, an amount calculated by reference to the average hourly earnings for the work they are employed to do.

The calculation of pay for the time taken for training should be undertaken with due regard to the type of payment system applying to the union representative and Union Learning Representative including, as appropriate, shift premia, performance related pay, bonuses and commission earnings. Where pay is linked to the achievement of performance targets it may be necessary to adjust such targets to take account of the reduced time the representative has to achieve the desired performance.

35. There is no statutory requirement to pay for time off where training is undertaken at a time when the union representative or Union Learning Representative would not otherwise have been at work unless the union representative or Union Learning Representative works flexible hours, such as night shift, but needs to undertake training during normal hours. Staff who work part time will be entitled to be paid if staff who work full time would be entitled to be paid. In all cases, the amount of time off must be reasonable.


If you  are interested an require more information on how to be a rep  or any of the process please  contact  your Unite  reps in West Lothian Council

If you are a member and would like to get more involved or have an issue or campaign you wish Unite to campaign on contact your Unite reps today

If you are not yet a member of Unite can you afford not to to be?
join unite 2019

You can join  Unite the Union online : https://join.unitetheunion.org/

Or contact one of the Unite reps  (Details below)



West Lothian Council  Local Unite contacts 

Unite the Union Shop Stewards/ Workplace Reps

Whitehill Service Centre

Senior Steward: Pat Tedford

Mobile:   07787 102 636  Email :  pat.tedford@unitetheunion.org

Davy Johnstone : Email : d.johnstone70@talktalk.net

Davy Dowds : Email : dowdsdavid1@gmail.com

Donald Smail: Email : donaldiansmail@gmail.com


Andy Dowds: Email : andydowds@live.co.uk

Bobby Lee: Email :  Bobby.lee@westlothian.gov.uk

Kirkton Service Centre


Unite the Union Workplace Reps

Rab Brown  Unite Convenor: Email  robert.brown@westlothian.gov.uk

Tam Brown Unite Rep: Email: tam.brown@unitewlc.org

Jade Deans Unite Rep: Email:jaderooney91@hotmail.com

Ryan Morcombe: Email  ryan.morcombe@unitewlc.org

Frank O Neil : Email  foneil@hotmail.com


Contact can be made through mobile phone app on android devices Unite@WLC



















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