The union representative is an important mouthpiece
Cooperation, security for employees and an important mediator. These are some of the things that Deputy Branch Director Marlene Strandgaard brings up when asked about her views on the role and function of union representatives.
Are you also familiar with the notion that a union representative is the most likely person to be up on the barricades, risking getting on edge with management? Marlene Strandgaard is a manager in Nordea in Hillerød, and she sees it as an advantage that there is a union representative she can draw on. And she especially sees it as an advantage that the union representative is present locally in the department.
“If we didn’t have a union representative, we would have to draw on one from one of the other branches, because for some difficult conversations there has to be a union representative present. This can work purely in terms of employment law, but it simply doesn’t give the employee the same security as when the union representative is a colleague they know.”
In addition, Marlene Strandgaard experiences the cooperation with the union representative as an important glue that helps keep the relationship with the employees together.
“It’s worth noting that the union representative has training behind them, where the relationship with us as management is viewed as a cooperation and where there is a focus on having a positive interaction with us for the employees. It means a lot and makes many things easier.”
Implementation is smoother with help from the union representative
In Marlene Strandgaard’s experience, one of the things that a union representative makes easier is the implementation of new initiatives.
“It makes a big difference to the employees when it is a colleague who is at the forefront of the implementation, because the employees accept things differently when it comes from a colleague.”
Therefore, it is also crucial that you as a manager involve the union representative properly and thoroughly.
“When we do that and she can see the idea and the context of our thinking and actions, she can have a positive interaction with us for the employees and be a mouthpiece for us. But the same is also true the other way around, because she brings things from the employees to us.”
She also believes that the clear guidelines for cooperation between union representatives and management defined in the collective agreement help provide clarity and security.
“When it is clearly stated that there has to be a fixed meeting with a fixed agenda every year, it sets a clear and legitimate framework for the cooperation. It’s helpful for both the management and the union representative.”
About Marlene Strandgaard.
35 years old, Deputy Branch Director in Nordea in Hillerød, has been a manager for two and a half years.