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Being a workplace representative

Our team are the beating heart of Advance Union, including many trained workplace representatives across the country who are on hand to ensure you have a voice at work. No other union in Santander can match this network of support.

If you’ve been a member for twelve months, why not speak to someone about being a workplace representative?

Reps are the backbone of the trade union movement because they link workers, employers and unions.

Union reps have a crucial role in supporting their members, and these responsibilities  include:

  • Listening, supporting and advising members on workplace issues.
  • Recruiting members and helping them understand the full benefits of the union.
  • Raising issues with employers informally and in formal meetings where appropriate.
  • Acting as a link between the workplace,  the union and the employer.

Union reps are entitled to reasonable paid time off from work to perform their union duties.




What do workplace (local) representatiives do?

Local representatives are essential because they are the backbone of their union. Without representation at the workplace level, there would be no one to act as the link between members through senior representatives with the employer and the union and no one to organise, represent and raise issues on behalf of people in the workplace.

Here’s a short list of some of the things union reps get involved in:

Recruiting members into the union and organising them around workplace issues, helping them understand the value of a union in the workplace.
Talking to members about workplace issues, advising them and keeping them informed of the latest developments
Raising issues in the area union meeting and further up the union hierarchy.
Many of our union reps will regularly talk to managers to resolve issues, and we have a formal framework of formal meetings with Santander senior management for every business area.
They always maintain confidentiality and will not share your name unless you agree to this.
Still, not all union reps will be involved directly in face-to-face negotiations over critical issues.
Our workplace reps will signpost members with complex queries or when they need representation to the Advance Union office.

Why do our members become a rep?

There are many benefits to being a rep. As well to receiving excellent training, reps often find their union work helps them develop skills they can use in other aspects of their life.

Reps are entitled to paid time off for training and attending meetings and there’s always a friendly voice at the end of the phone at the Advance office if you need information. Our team of professional trade union officers is also available if you need some extra support.

Interested? why not speak to one of our many reps and find out why they enjoy making a difference every day..


Fellow members elect reps in their workplace for three years.

Why not take on the role if your workplace doesn’t have a rep? It’s crucial, enriching, and not time-consuming, and our representatives enjoy it!

The next round of elections will take place in September 2023 for the following three years. However, you don’t have to wait until then if you’re interested in becoming a rep.

Why not take on the role if your workplace doesn’t have a rep? Please speak to one of our Advance Union consultants, who will help support and guide you through the process. If you’ve already done this, the next step is for you to complete the election form.

When Advance receives this we have to formally ask for your area committee to co-opt you into the role which can take a short while.

Skills you will develop

Union representatives are exposed to many different opportunities to develop skills that they can use in their future careers, such as:

  • Becoming a strong communicator, listener and influencer.
  • Developing passion by feeling strongly about issues where they want to change things for the better
  • Developing an understanding of unions and how they operate.
  • Gaining an understanding of people’s policies and best practices.
  • Gaining an understanding of the framework of how we work with Santander.
  • Learn to be a good listener; take time to hear what members say
  • Understanding how to show empathy for a colleague’s situation
  • Learn how to ask questions to get to know more about a situation
  • Be open-minded, accept there may be two sides to every story, and that management may have a legitimate case
  • Be able to maintain confidentiality – our independence is our backbone
  • Show enthusiasm and remain positive
  • Know when to ask for help

Workplace representantives application form

Representatives are usually elected for three years. The election window is next due to take place for our workplace representatives during Q4 2023, ready for the term 2024-6. Where we have vacancies for representatives, we always welcome qualifying members standing forward at any time to call the union office to see if there are any requirements.



We must train and accredit you before you carry out your duties as an Advance Union representative.

You will have the skills to:

  • Answer simple queries.
  • Speak confidently about  Advance union and what we have with members and management.
  • Signpost support outside of your mandate, such as casework.

You will need to go through our induction programme before undertaking the duties of the rep role.

You’re entitled to paid time off to attend our training, including our online training. But you should give adequate notice and agree to the time off with your manager. We’ll pay reasonable expenses for a face-to-face course if this is appropriate.

We are currently reviewing our training content and hope to launch our new approach to training before the next term.