MiP introduces local “reps” to boost support for members

Tue 16 May 2017

MiP Chief executive Jon Restell outlines the union’s plan to build a network of MiP reps in workplaces across the UK.

MiP is piloting a new active member role, the “MiP representative”, throughout the rest of 2017. 

The new role has grown out of ‘advanced practice’ from our existing MiP link members and responds to the growing demand from some of them for more responsibility for the individual and collective representation of members. We believe the new role will enhance the union’s presence and accessibility in workplaces, and enable us to give better support to members with those employment issues that would not normally involve MiP’s externally-based national officers. The role is also designed to amplify the union’s influence and expertise, because MiP’s workplace reps will often be better placed – through proximity, reputation and local knowledge – to intervene to prevent problems escalating while keeping head office colleagues abreast of what’s happening at local level.

In an allied piece of work, MiP has also updated the training we offer to MiP link members, who signpost members to help with problems at work, recruit new members and promote the union, support change in the workplace and develop their own networks.

The union has developed the link member and rep roles to enhance the union’s capacity to support members and their employers. The roles are also designed to give people transferable skills, experience and knowledge, as well as the chance to make a rewarding and positive contribution to the workplace and lives of individual colleagues.

MiP will pilot the new rep role for six months from May to ensure that the framework for appointing, training and supervising reps delivers the right standard of support for both members and reps. Much of the new reps’ work is already being undertaken by some link members so the new framework will also recognise and formalise existing practice.  

Many employers are expected to back the development of MiP reps in order to help support staff-facing system and organisational change and promote team-working in organisations under severe pressure. Several MiP link members have gained the trust and respect of employers and staff to the extent they are seen as people who can advise on how change is managed and can intervene to nip problems in the bud between members and their own managers. The power of the role arises from the mix of management skills and union representation, one of the hallmarks of the MiP brand.


Could you be an MiP Rep or Link Member?

Being an MiP rep or link member is a rewarding way to support your colleagues and play your part in making the NHS the best it can be. Both roles are flexible and can be tailored around your work commitments and interests.

As a link member you might be involved in: 

  • Promoting MiP and our campaigns in your workplace 
  • Giving information and advice to members
  • Supporting members informally with problems at work
  • Contributing to the development of MiP policy and campaigns
  • Recruiting new members and encouraging them to get involved 
  • Signposting members to support within the union
  • Liaising with employers, your MiP national officer and local UNISON branches
  • Keeping in touch with members across your organisation

MiP reps may do all of the above, as well as:

  • Keeping members and MiP staff up to speed on local policy and employment issues 
  • Representing individual members who have problems at work
  • Representing members locally in negotiations with employers 

MiP reps will mainly be drawn from existing link members. You will receive full training and accreditation and will work closely with the MiP national officer for your area to develop your skills and confidence in dealing with members’ problems and negotiating with employers.

The first training course for MiP reps took place on 4-5 May 2017. If you are interested in becoming a rep or link member, or taking part in the training course, contact Billy Turner (b.turner@miphealth.org.uk) at MiP head office.

See also: Getting active and getting on: how union work can boost your career


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