Experience of contacting unions

(14 Posts)
Darklava09 Fri 05-Mar-21 17:14:28

I contacted my union for advice about an issue that I’ve been put in. I’m unsure about it as it’s something I’ve never really come across. They ask where I worked ect and the issue which I briefed them on.

They said they would have to get some advice from their regional managers as they were unsure. Once they got back to me they said they had spoken to my HR department to kind of get some clarity on the issue also. I was mortified as I thought unions were confidential.

They assured me the HR will be discreet and not mention my name or tell anyone I’ve been in contact but I didn’t think they were allowed to do that!?

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XDownwiththissortofthingX Fri 05-Mar-21 17:22:30

If you are accompanied by a union rep to a meeting, it's usually one of your colleagues, so no, unions don't give a hoot about confidentiality.

To be honest, I've always found unions to be more of a hindrance than a help in resolving any situation, so if you really need advice and guidance, I'd suggest ACAS or some outside and independent Advocacy service.

Darklava09 Fri 05-Mar-21 17:29:59

@XDownwiththissortofthingX thank you for your advice.

I will call Acas. The union isn’t attached to
My work they are independent and I pay a fee into them. They seem keen for me to push going further but they said they can’t force me to they are just there to speak on my behalf. confused

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Darklava09 Sat 06-Mar-21 08:05:35

Bump

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Margaritatime Sat 06-Mar-21 09:08:35

If your organisation has a good employment relations environment then TU and HR work in partnership. TU reps may talk to HR but I would not expect them to name the individual unless they had their permission.

Without knowing more about your situation it is difficult to advise on the reasonableness E.g. if you report bullying or if you have concerns about a restructure.

daisychain01 Sat 06-Mar-21 09:33:37

I would have explicitly stated to them that under no circumstances should they identify you - if you didn't tell them your expectations and just assumed, then that's a lesson learned, never to assume anything. Had they outed you, even when you told them not to, you would have been able to take issue.

Being in a Union gives various benefits, including paid legal cover as part of your membership if it gets to the stage where you need it. I don't pay for legal cover on my household or car insurance as there is an equivalent policy as part of my union membership, which saves £30 a year.

redswinger Sat 06-Mar-21 10:52:40

What does GDPR policy say on this. I thought you had to obtain someone's permission to discuss their situation with an outside agency. Have the Union obtained your permission?

Darklava09 Sat 06-Mar-21 11:12:41

I’m not sure about the GDPR. But I didn’t give permission to speak to my HR they said they were going to speak to the regional director which I was happy with.

However once I found out that she had contacted my HR I made it clear under no circumstances do I want to be named and for my manager to find out. They said the HR would be discreet but let’s face it people know people. I called back and said it’s made me feel really anxious and worried I’d be found out so they messaged them
And told them to hold fire. Wether my HR knows my details or not I don’t know without asking.

I haven’t done anything it’s not a bullying issue it’s hard to say without being very outing but it would come under the whilstblowing policy for something they have done which could have major repercussions.

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redswinger Sat 06-Mar-21 11:51:29

With GDPR your permission has to be actively sought - it cannot be implied. You do not have to give instructions not to share your information.

ArosGartref Sun 07-Mar-21 16:55:25

I used to be a union rep.

It's not clear if they have shared your information. As they are not recognised by your workplace, they may have been asking for policies and procedures that they could use to advise you further. If you advised it's related to whistleblowing it's very unlikely they would have identified you.

I think next steps would be to ask them exactly what information, if any, they have shared with HR. If you are happy that they haven't breached your confidence then have a discussion about what support you want from them. They are there to represent you and will take your cues from you.

The main downside to ACAS compared to a union is ACAS can't provide legal advice.

Darklava09 Sun 07-Mar-21 19:11:52

@ArosGartref thank you

I was thinking maybe they was asking about the procedures as the person was querying the HR if they felt it was a breach of GDPr which they didn’t think it was.

The only reason why I think my name might have been discussed was when I said I don’t want to be treated unfairly if they find out they advised me that if they do then to let them know as it’s my right to speak to my union.

If they have shared my name for example then where do I stand?

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ArosGartref Sun 07-Mar-21 19:32:45

I'm not sure I understand your first paragraph. Do you mean your issue with the employer is a GDPR breach?

Ultimately if you're not happy with the unions actions you can complain and ask for another official to deal with your case.

Darklava09 Sun 07-Mar-21 19:56:44

@ArosGartref it’s difficult to go into detail about it as it’s very specific and could be very outing.

The union thinks it’s a personal data breach of my personal data. My HR didn’t seem to think it was though. Hope that makes sense smile

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ArosGartref Sun 07-Mar-21 20:10:34

Ok good luck

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