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Delegate Training: Michelle Castle
SCHOOL Executive Officer at Rosetta Primary School, Michelle Castle has been a CPSU Delegate for about eight years – officially – but before taking up the official title, Michelle’s acted as the lead union representative in her workplace for many years, and has been a Member since 1995.
“Becoming a Delegate was a formalisation of things I’d been doing already,” she said. “Rather than just being the person who was handing out the fliers and the calendars I had the formal backing of the award behind helping other people in my workplace.”
This week’s two-day ACTU Delegate course was only the second time Michelle’s done training, as well as attending a Delegate Conference a few years back, and she found it very informative.
“Listening to other people’s experiences – that’s the most valuable thing about training for me,” Michelle said. “Listening to how they dealt with issues and applying those to my own situation.”
Michelle enjoys being a Delegate, saying it fits nicely with her work role.
Describing Rosetta Primary as a collaborative and inclusive workplace, Michelle said most of the time if employees had an issue, there were no issues raising it with their direct supervisor.
“For me, the role is more about giving people the correct information about what’s happening with wage agreements, new awards and entitlements and keeping people abreast of all the developments in their area.”
There’s plenty of potential to grow power in the workplace with five CPSU Members and about eight potential members.
For Michelle, the Delegate role is about listening and building relationships.
“There’s a perception that being a Delegate is about being adversarial but it’s not, It’s about being sometimes the conduit for communication. An employee might not feel comfortable speaking directly to a manager because they are afraid of what might happen to them, so I can be that conduit and represent their views to their managers. So it’s not about being adversarial – it’s about facilitating communication.”