Shop stewards are the foundation and pillars of the Union and are picked from the general membership at a workplace. It is through these individuals that workers are able to air their grievances. Shop stewards are committed, hardworking, disciplined, progressive and literate members.
In conducting their functions, it expected that the shop steward would play various roles within the organization ranging from an organizer, representative, monitor, leader, learner and educator.
As an organizer, it is the shop steward’s responsibility to:
- Recruit new members both internal and external of the work place;
- Make sure that all the members are paying subscription to the Union.;
- Hold regular meetings with the members at the workplace;
- Develop a spirit of unity amongst workers;
As a representative, it is expected of you to:
- Take up workers grievances with management ;
- Negotiate on all issues which concern workers;
- Take the decisions of workers to the management;
- Report back to workers after each meeting with management
- Represent the views of your workers in Union structures and in Cosatu, ANC & SACP;
- Represent the views of your workers in communities and in political structures.
In the role of a monitor and leader:
- Shop stewards must make sure that management sticks to agreements which have been negotiated with workers.
- Make sure that management carries out decisions reached in negotiations. Listen to workers;
- Listen to their grievances and opinions;
- Give members guidance and direction – but don't think you need to control workers;
- Discourage division –don't take sides when sorting out differences of opinion between workers;
- Work as a collective – no shop steward can do everything alone.