The position and role of union representatives

Union representatives (union reps) act on behalf of the trade union within the workplace. They are elected by the employees and appointed by the union. At workplaces with 50 or more employees more than one union rep can be elected.

The position and role of union representatives

  • The role of union representatives

    A union rep should monitor how the employer keeps the terms of the collective wage agreements and that the rights of the employees are kept at all times, particularly when it comes to leave and occupational health and safety. Employees can turn to the union representative with their complaints about the employer.

    As soon as a union rep has received a complaint from an employee or they have reasons to believe that the rights of a worker or a trade union at the workstation has been infringed upon by the employer, they should investigate and try to find out if this is the case. If the finding of the investigation substantiates the complaints or suspicions they should approach the employer or his representative with a complaint and demand amendments.

    Trade union reps should also send a report to the trade union on the employee’s complaints. They shall furthermore inform the union on any rights they consider have been violated by the employer or his representatives and which, if any, amendments have been done as a result.

  • Training of union representatives

    According to an agreement on union representatives, they are entitled to attend seminars, meetings conferences and courses up to a week each year without reduction of wages. This is extremely important and enables the union representatives to attend courses during working hours and increase their knowledge on the labour market and labour law.

  • Protection against termination

    The notice time for union representatives is the same as for any other employees but employers and their representatives are not permitted to terminate the employment of union reps on account of their service as such or to let them in any way suffer for the fact that they fulfil their duties for the union. It is prohibited to move union representatives to lower wage brackets while fulfilling their duties. In case an employer needs to reduce the number of employees the union rep shall, all things being equal, have priority in retaining the job.

  • Election and announcement

    Union representatives are elected for a two-year term at a time. After the election both the employer and the trade union should be informed of the results. When one or more trade unions have members within the same workplace, union reps shall be elected for each union, depending on the number of members.

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