Paul Lee, National Officer
Changes to procedures to fall in line with statutory provisions mean that there can now be less levels of appeal, so, to succeed in an appeal, you must get it right first time!
Of course, you can “go it alone” and hope for the best; you can ask a colleague to accompany you; if you are under 18 you could even ask a parent to go with you… Or, you could be represented by a skilled and experienced professional Officer or Official of the RBA. But, of course, you have to be a member for that to happen.
That’s all there is – a colleague from the workplace, a parent (if you are a minor), or a Union Rep. No solicitors, no ACAS conciliator, not your friend from next door who says he knows what he’s talking about!
Does it make a difference? Absolutely! We cannot guarantee to “win” in every grievance or disciplinary case that we deal with, but we can, and do, ensure that every opportunity is taken to achieve a fair hearing and an equitable end result. After all, that is what we are paid to do!
Statutory procedures are paramount nowadays, and your employer’s policy is modelled upon those procedures. Like any other legal procedure, being based upon “natural justice”, one assumes that one will receive a “fair trial”.
A famous employment lawyer, Lord Denning, said, around fifty years ago, that the UK justice system “is like the Ritz Hotel, open to all”. This was the subject of a question in my first law exam, where we were asked to comment. My view then (in the 1980’s, not the 1950s!) is the same as it is today – you get good service if you’ve got loads of money! I’ve been to the Ritz Hotel since then, and still cannot afford to enjoy the experience…
So, does money provide a better service? Of course it does! The best solicitors charge the most; as do the best plumbers, and electricians. Save the money and do it yourself? Having tried plumbing, once, not me!
I once tried to sort out a little problem with an overflow pipe that ended up with me in the Accident & Emergency ward, a plumber to fix the toilet (£450), and an electrician to fix the fact that the flood I caused shorted out the whole house (£620). Lesson learned. Get the experts in!
Grievances and disciplinary cases occur more than you would think; they can almost be an occupational hazard, as working life continues to get more and more stressful and complex.
It’s not the end of the world when a problem occurs at work, it’s just something that needs to be dealt with; carefully, amicably, and professionally. Further, union membership subscriptions are far from expensive.
You insure your life, you car, you may even insure against household plumbing and electrical problems! Insure your career – after all, that’s what pays for everything else!
We could easily describe what to do, what to look out for, what the procedure should be, and how to win. We do not, because it would be giving help to non-members, and that’s not what we are here for.
The RBA has only one purpose, and that is to look after the employment interests of its members. So, got a problem? worried about a work related issue? facing a disciplinary interview? Contact the people who work for you. The RBA. (but don’t bother if you are not a member – try the alternatives above).
Want to join? Contact RBA Central Office on 01793 855786 or email email@example.com, or print off an application form from this website.
Want to go it alone? Good luck!
You may think that this article doesn’t tell you what you need to know to get results in your grievance or to defend in a disciplinary case. Really, it does!
All you need to know is that the RBA will be there when you need it most, working for you, provided that you are a member.
Please be assured that all enquiries into Central Office are confidential, and that, however hopeless things may appear to be to you, we never make things worse, only better.