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When I'm at work: Working on a committee - Learner's workbook

Chapters

Topic 4 - What roles are there on workplace committees?

What you will need

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Watch the slides carefully. They will tell you what this topic is about. The slides are about the information in the box. Your trainer will talk with you about this information.

What roles are there on workplace committees?

People on workplace committees usually have special roles or jobs that they do while they are on the committee. These roles can sometimes be shared, or people in those roles can get help with some parts of their roles if they need it. For example, a worker may be the secretary on a workplace committee and have help to write any letters that are required.

Remember that it is your right to have your say at work. Working on a committee is one way that you can have your say at work.

Here are the main roles and what they involve.

Chairperson

The chairperson runs the committee meetings. The chairperson also makes sure that people on the committee take turns to talk, and that everyone has their say.

Secretary

The secretary prepares the meeting agendas and takes notes of what happens at meetings, including the things that the committee votes on and agrees to do. The secretary also writes any letters or emails that the committee wants to send.

Treasurer

The treasurer manages the money and reports to the rest of the committee about the money that the committee is responsible for. A treasurer is not always needed on a committee. It will depend on whether or not money is needed for that committee.

Team representative

The team representative is the person who is on the committee to represent the views of everyone on their work team. People on the work team may elect their team representative. Managers may ask a particular worker to be the team representative.

Committee members

Committee members represent the views of all workers in the workplace. They put forward ideas about the things that the committee is discussing.


Brian's story

Now watch and listen to Brian's story.

Photo of group meeting

Brian works at DB Services on the gardening team. He's also the chairperson of the DB Services social club committee.

Mario, a supervisor at DB Services, is the treasurer of the DB Services social club committee.

Chen is the gardening team's representative on the committee.

Lisa and Julia are also team representatives on the DB Services social club committee.

At the monthly committee meeting, Brian wants to discuss the Christmas party. He asks Mario how much money there is to spend but before Mario can answer, Lisa interrupts.

Mario and Brian are annoyed. Brian tells Lisa that she has to wait her turn. He continues his conversation with Mario.

Brian then asks Chen to talk about what the gardening team wants to do for the Christmas party. Chen is surprised. Brian works on the gardening team so he knows perfectly well what the team wants.

Brian tells Chen that it's her job to say what the gardening team wants because she's the team representative.

Brian sees that Julia's hand is up, so he asks her to speak after Chen has finished. Julia has just started talking when Lisa interrupts again.

Brian firmly asks Lisa to be quiet. He then asks Julia to continue with what she was saying.

In the meantime, Lisa has put her hand up. When Julia has finished talking, Brian asks Lisa to speak.

Questions for discussion

1. Why do committees have rules?

2. Why do people on a committee have different roles?

3. How did Brian go as the chairperson?

4. Why did Brian ask Chen to speak for the gardening team?

Amir's story

Now watch and listen to Amir's story.

Amir has been on the safety committee at DB Services for three months. He represents the new printing service crew. He has been to every meeting. He comes on time and listens quietly to what is being said. If Lynne, the chairperson, asks him if he wants to ask anything he either shakes his head or says no. He pins the notes of the meeting up on the noticeboard in his work area after every meeting.

Photo of Amir

Before one meeting, Lillian, one of the other people at the printing service, asks him to raise at the meeting that there is a problem with fumes in the copier room. Lillian and other people are getting headaches that they think come from working in there.

Amir goes to the meeting, but he doesn't say anything about the fumes.

When she sees the notes of the meeting, Lillian is very angry and says Amir is not doing his job properly.

Questions for discussion

1. What parts of being on the committee is Amir doing well?

2. Are there parts of his role that Amir is not doing well?

3. Is it a problem that Amir is not speaking up at the meetings? Why?

4. Who might be able to help Amir do his job on the committee better?

Workbook activities

Your trainer will help you with these activities if you are not sure what to do.

Choose a workplace committee that you have discussed in the training session. Write down the name of the committee, the names of the people who work on the committee, and their roles.

What did you learn from the role play of Brian's story?

Think about one of the roles you played. What did you learn about what you should do for this role?

What did you learn about what you should not do in this role?

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