New process for Legal help in employment cases

Click here to view our helpful webinars which will guide you through the new Member Pack application process.

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Usdaw has changed the way members apply for assistance from the Union in employment cases making it quicker and more professional - it’s important Reps know the new procedure.

What Reps need to know

The blue form BL2 – Application for assistance in employment cases is being scrapped.

From 1 January 2011 members must complete a new Members Pack to apply for Usdaw advice and assistance in employment cases.

There is a new Advice Card to give to the members you represent in disciplinary and grievance procedure hearings where the member’s problem is not resolved.

There is an updated Legal Plus Reps’ Handbook which explains the new system and the Rep’s role. There is a new Members’ Handbook which will be sent to the member when assistance is granted to guide them through the process.

What Reps should do

  • Scrap any supplies of blue form BL2.
  • Get a supply of Advice Cards from your Area Organiser or your local office.
  • Put the new Member Pack Process on the agenda of your Reps team meetings and make sure that all your Reps have the updated Reps’ Handbook and a postcard supply.
  • Give members a copy of the card when you represent them at a hearing under the disciplinary and grievance procedures and the matter is not resolved.
  • Give members the Advice Card if they ask you how to apply for assistance from Usdaw in a Tribunal claim.
  • Help a member complete the Member Pack if she/he has difficulty with the form.
  • Tell your Area Organiser if you think a member wants to apply for assistance to make a tribunal Claim.

The Advice Card

The Advice Card is a simple postcard that tells the member about tribunal time limits and how to get a Members’ Pack and apply to Usdaw for help with a tribunal claim.

The card will make your job as a Rep easier and ensure that the members are given the right advice at the right time and you can’t be criticised by a member for not telling them about the very strict tribunal time limits.

It should be given to the members you represent at disciplinary and grievance hearings where the member’s problem is not resolved or they remain unhappy with the outcome and where internal proceedings drag on and the tribunal time limits are coming up.

How the new system will work

  • Rep gives member the Advice Card.
  • Member contacts the local Usdaw Office for a Member Pack – employment.
  • Usdaw Office sends member the Pack.
  • Member completes Pack and sends it with key documents to their Area Organiser at the Usdaw local office.
  • Area Organiser checks the Pack and sends it to the Legal Department.
  • Legal Department assess the case and informs the member whether Usdaw can support the case and who will represent the member.
  • Our aim is to tell members within 20 days of receipt of the Members’ Pack at the local office whether Usdaw will represent them. Until the Member Pack process has been completed and the Legal Department has confirmed that assistance is granted the member has personal responsibility for their case and must ensure that a claim is made to tribunal within the time limits.
  • Once assistance is granted the Usdaw case representative will contact the member and help them through the case.

The message to members

  • We will be telling members about the new application system through Arena and the website.
  • There is no need for Reps to make any general announcements to members about the Member Pack Process at this stage. There is no change to the service offered to members; the only changes are to the method of applying for assistance from Usdaw.
  • In practice members will only need to know about the new Member Pack Process when they have a problem and if you give the member the Advice Card during the procedures they will know what steps to take to get Usdaw assistance and they will be given this information exactly when they need to know it.

A better service to members

These new developments will improve our service to members and provide:

  • Clear guidance to members about tribunal time limits and how to apply for assistance from Usdaw when they need it.
  • A clearly defined and consistent process for all members to follow in seeking help from Usdaw in employment cases.
  • Better case preparation and assembly of the facts and documents by members at an earlier stage.
  • More information to enable the Legal Department to give stronger advice sooner and make early decisions on representation.
  • More information and support to members through the new Members’ Handbook which contains lots of information and advice on employment tribunal cases.

Supporting our Reps

Our aim is to resolve employment problems through the procedures and our Reps do a fantastic job every day looking after our
members and finding effective solutions to issues.

At a tribunal there is no room for compromise, at a trial someone wins and someone loses and the risks of losing at tribunal are high.
The tribunal has really only one answer to fixing a problem - compensation and money awards are also pretty low.

Under the procedures Reps have more opportunities of finding a way through the problems and coming up with creative solutions.

As Reps you are not alone and your Area Organisers and the Legal Department are on hand to help and advise you.

In 2011 we plan to produce some webinars and DVDs to support the new Member Pack process. The webinar will be available to view
as a short video, on the Usdaw website.