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Meet Peter Feil and Richard Bennett
DURING recent Delegate training the CPSU chatted to Peter Feil from Parks and Wildlife Service’s Tolosa St Glenorchy office and Richard Bennett from Consumer Affairs & Fair Trading in the Department of Justice.
How long have you been a Delegate?
Peter: Probably about 5-6 years.
Richard: I became a Delegate 18 months ago.
What’s the role involved so far?
Peter: The union approached me about becoming a Delegate. There was a gap in our workplace – the previous Delegate had been in the role for many years and wanted a break. He gave me all of his documents and I got a handle on what the main issues were.
I generally get approached by workmates about day-today issues. For example, they ask about our industrial agreement and interpretations of what it means.
The Agreement is up for renewal and I think that’s something I’ll probably be involved in. Initially we’d been trying to update the industrial agreement for 13 years, so I started pursuing that and it happened. It was a long process though and took three years. Now the Agreement’s come to the end of its first incarnation.
I haven’t been as active as I could be in terms of recruiting but after this training I think I will talk to a few more people about joining.
Richard: I came into the role because of demand – we didn’t have a Delegate for a long time and we had quite a number of unpleasant issues happening.
I felt I needed to support colleagues who were being treated quite unfairly, so I put my hand up basically because of workplace circumstances and wanting to push back against what was happening.
What are the challenges of the role?
Richard: Probably some Member expectations about what can be done, when they aren’t really realistic. Another challenge is trying to balance being a Delegate with your actual job.
Sometimes it can also be difficult having conversations with colleagues in a Delegate capacity.
Peter: Also dealing with people who are in Management – that can often be difficult. You don’t know really what to expect.
What advice would you have for Members pondering the Delegate role?
Richard: I’d probably suggest certainly give it a go. I think you’ve got to contribute to your workplace.
Peter: I’d definitely encourage anyone to take it on.
I know there are a lot of big gaps in Parks because of how it’s structured operationally, with worksites spread out around the state. Ideally, I’d like to see one Delegate in every field centre.