Today is the one year anniversary of our caseworker Steve joining UNISON Essex as a member of staff. To celebrate, we thought we’d tell you more about our casework team!
What do caseworkers do?
UNISON reps should always be members’ first point-of-contact for employment issues, and we have a fantastic network of reps at UNISON Essex. But with the branch covering over 1700 different workplaces, we can’t recruit a rep in every one – which is where our caseworkers come in. They are employed by the branch to advise and support members who don’t have a workplace rep, and they do everything from offering telephone advice to negotiating settlement agreement to representing at hearings.
Who are our caseworkers?
We currently have three caseworkers working for the branch: Tamara, Steve and Michelle.
Tamara has been working for the branch the longest, joining us in 2016. She works three days per week providing telephone advice to members who call into the branch with questions about their employment. This is an incredibly busy job, and Tamara handles all sorts of queries, so she has to be knowledgeable on a wide range of subjects. Since the pandemic saw calls to the branch rise by 45%, Tamara’s work in advising members is absolutely vital – we couldn’t manage without her.
It’s been a year since Steve joined our team, and what a year to join us! Steve was an experienced workplace rep but had just over a month to settle into the UNISON Essex branch office before lockdown completely changed the way we worked. Not only did the pandemic mean that requests for help skyrocketed, but Steve had to get used to representing members remotely, mastering video and conference calling.
Celebrating a year in the post, Steve said “Working as a caseworker still has it’s challenges but it is still fulfilling.” He has certainly risen to the challenge, handling 121 cases in the last year.
With so many cases coming in, the branch decided to add another full-time caseworker to the team for 2021 and Michelle joined us in January. Michelle has over 20 years experience in UNISON and was instrumental in setting up UNISON Essex branch back in 2016. Michelle’s wealth of experience has been invaluable to the branch and we’re delighted to welcome her to the team!
Our team of caseworkers have received some great feedback, including:
“Without your advice and support I would never have been able to sort this out.”
“Thank you for your help with my case … I really appreciate your help and thank you for helping me solve my issue. I’m very grateful that I am a UNISON member.”
“A big thank you to you and your negotiating skills! This has been a difficult and stressful process and I would’ve really struggled if it was not for your help, support & professional advice.”
We cannot reproduce all our positive comments here, but be assured that our experienced and compassionate team are here to help.
Do you have a problem at work? Please contact us and we will ask one of our caseworkers to get in touch with you.