Shop stewards can rely on a strong support network

Standing as a candidate to be shop steward always requires a dash of courage. Looking into the mirror you might ask yourself: can I really do it? And when the news of your election arrives, you may end up riding a roller coaster of emotions from joy to sheer terror. Now I have to be able to do it.

The decision to stand as a candidate to be shop steward is one you have to make yourself, but luckily you will notice soon after you take on the role that there is plenty of support to be had to help you successfully carry out the work.

No-one is born a shop steward, but the basic training for social workers already provides a lot of the skills that the job requires. The role of shop steward is a specialist task, which requires training and is learned on the job.
Shop stewards receive pay for training and the training is stipulated in collective agreements. Regular training helps ensure that shop stewards maintain their competence.

The diverse training teaches them about collective agreements for employees and civil servants, labour law issues and changes taking place in working life. Training is also available for improving negotiation and interaction skills
Shop stewards must develop many skills to be able to successfully function in their role.

The day-to-day work of a shop steward includes, for example, answering questions from individual members concerning their situation, and more extensive problems at the workplace, for example concerning pay. Sometimes, situations at the workplace are the sum of many factors and resolving them requires extensive expertise.

Shop stewards can always turn to Talentia’s office if they have questions concerning the issues they face in their work.

Shop stewards often mention other shop stewards as a key source of support. At their own workplace, the shop steward is often part of a network that includes shop stewards from their own and other organisations.
Shop stewards can get to know their own organisation’s shop stewards around Finland at the training events. Other shop stewards are often also familiar with issues that come up at the workplace. Peer support is considered important. The training events can even lead to friendships that continue after individuals no longer work as shop stewards.

The support gained from the members they represent also helps the shop steward to succeed in their task. The best way that members can support the shop steward in their work is to always contact them when necessary. This communication enables the shop steward to collect news from the field and build their own experience. It boosts their confidence to act as the personnel’s representative in discussions with the employer.

Therefore, it is enough for you to see an enthusiastic and courageous advocate looking back at you in the mirror. You will learn the knowledge and skills that come with being a shop steward over time, and you will undoubtedly receive support.

When you one day become a shop steward, remember to maintain the same enthusiasm for improving working life and the courage that you once had when applying for the role.

Johanna Rantanen
Contract Specialist (Helsinki, Itä- ja Keski-Uusimaa)
09 3158 6042