Recently, at the project I’m on here, we had an admin issue with the safety paperwork for all the tasking that the electrical workers have to legally cover off on before they start the week. As it turned out when the supervisory staff signed off on the weekly review of the paperwork, known as the Job Safety Analysis (JSA), they failed to complete their part of the documents, as the site procedure demands.
This lead to the HSR’s and union delegates advising the crews to stand down whilst the management completed the sign off on the cover sheets for the JSA’s.
The delay was to go on for over four hours of the working day so the day’s productivity was limited. As you could understand this lead to some abrupt exchanges between the management staff and the HSR/Union guys.
Anyways, as a part of the aftermath of that situation, our union delegates called a meeting to discuss an alleged assault that had occurred during one of the exchanges between a HSR and a supervisor. This in turn lead to some of the members wanting to engage in industrial action in order to persuade the company to dismiss the accused person.
I’m not wholly sure of the logic behind this as it turned out in the days after that meeting that the case against the supervisor in question couldn’t be substantiated. But it was interesting all the same to watch some people advocate for a course of action, which was unlawful, without knowing the whole story.
Thankfully, saner heads prevailed and my faith in the average punter was reaffirmed when some members of the union (along with advice from the company employee relations team) brought up the deficit of evidence to support the claims against the accused.
The response from the floor was to vote up a motion to forward the details of the dispute resolution process to the Fair Work commission in order to formally assess the process. Again another good sign that the members have a respect for due process.
What really pissed me off was the them and us attitude that was present initially and how the acceptance of the choice of unlawful industrial action wasn’t subjected to a long term view in which the case being presented would’ve been seen as weak.
There’s a bloody minded attitude that some exhibit that needs to be sorted out. There’s a certain level of niaviety that drives people’s decision making when they’re a part of a group and this undermines the strengths of the collective position. An over reliance on some one else doing the thinking contributes to this undermining as well.
An old rule of thumb needs to be applied here methinks. That being, always, ALWAYS, do your homework. If you find yourself agreeing with the narrative, question the parts of it, apply the standards of evidence and do your best to understand what is going on. It’ll go a long way to save your reputation and in some cases your bank balance.