Having recently taken over the role of branch secretary for the Welsh Government North Wales branch from my predecessor Emma Logan; I can honestly say it has been, and continues to be, a very steep learning curve.
When you are as comfortable in a role as I was in my previous job, it is very easy to drop into use of jargon and acronyms and forget that people outside that immediate circle often have no idea what you are talking about.
That is the position in which I found myself when I took up post in November. The calendar invitations and e-mails started to arrive – GEC, BEC, partnership forum, HR people group, the list goes on. Also, who on earth are all these people whose names I have never heard before? What do they do? How do I need to deal with them?
Actually, thinking about it now, it’s not so much a learning curve, it’s more of a learning cliff and I sometimes feel I am standing right at the bottom looking up. Fortunately, I have the very supportive and experienced branch executive committee members, who have been incredibly helpful. I’ve also been very fortunate and managed to get myself booked onto a number of training courses to help get me up to speed.
So how did I get here? Having worked in the heavily-unionised Post Office/Royal Mail for over 21 years, (where I was the local communications workers association branch secretary for a period), in 2005 I joined the then Welsh Assembly Government and worked in a variety of different roles in the health, local government and communities, economy, science and transport (which morphed into ESNR).
So far, my priorities have been getting to know the landscape, understanding the structure of PCS and TUS in general, and speaking to members. I have been involved in some personal cases and I’ve also been active in attempting to recruit new members to the branch.
As I write this, I am also preparing for the branch AGM on 7 March, 2017. I would encourage you to attend and get involved in the discussions – the union and the branch can only be as strong as the sum of its parts.
In the meantime; I’m new here, ask me.