“We did a good thing and members said they were grateful”

15 October 2020

Three new Prospect reps at the Building Research Establishment branch share their experiences of getting involved and actively helping out during a recent redundancy consultation.

Colleagues holding hands

Going through a redundancy process is a difficult and traumatic time for all those involved, and Prospect reps involved in consultations can make a real difference to the process and to the outcomes.

For Felicity Taylor, Sami Kamal and Casey Lambie, three new reps at Prospect’s Building Research Establishment Branch, a recent restructure was their first experience of being involved in the collective consultation process.

To add an extra dimension of stress and technical difficulties, this was the first time anyone at the workplace had done the training and the process of consultation entirely virtually, so there was a certain amount of learning for all parties, and extra honed skills required to read and respond to people’s emotions, concerns etc. over a video link.

Sami, Casey and Felicity all stepped forward to support members and became fully involved in both collective and individual consultations supported by Branch Secretary, Helen Garrett and other experienced reps in the branch.

Here they share their experiences to inspire other new reps to get involved.

Picture of Felicity Taylor

Felicity Taylor

Felicity’s advice to other reps is: “Don’t be scared to ask questions and don’t be fazed by the hierarchy of it all, as a rep you are there to scrutinise and advise. It gave me confidence that I was doing this on behalf of all the members.”

Casey, Sami and Felicity involved themselves in the series of collective meetings and each took an area of the business to act as main contact. They were also involved in open meetings for members and in accompanying members to individual consultation meetings.

Sami observed, “I thought the process would be more dramatic and that it would be difficult managing members’ emotions but the training we had [from Prospect centrally] was good and prepared me.”

Felicity added, “Being able to explain that the process is not personal really helped in dealing with people’s emotions.”

Also, Casey noted that, “once the members knew I was their point of contact they were confident to come to me directly.”

Experience and confidence

All three reps reported that they valued the experience of being part of the process and that their confidence stemmed from the support of the more experienced reps and of full-time officer, Lindsay Chapman.

They also appreciated the assistance of the senior team at BRE in allowing them to attend all the consultations to aid their development as reps.

Picture of BRE rep Sami Kamal

Sami Kamal

Casey says that he found the experience of being able to “bounce ideas off each other and gain confidence from each other” extremely useful and all three reps reported that they felt more confident having engaged with the process.

Sami felt that “the experience has definitely given me more confidence in dealing with members’ issues” and Casey added that he felt more assured about what he was able to do as a rep.

Felicity summed this up by saying, “It feels like we did a good thing and it was nice when members said they were grateful. It felt like we were trusted.”

All three reps have since decided to take further training in case handling so that they can further support their members in the future.

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