I want to tell the story of my full time GMB Officer, Alyn Thomas, and how he has been extraordinarily supportive to me during my tenure as shop steward at my place of work.
This man is quite amazing as I know that he does have a very heavy workload but has always been there when I need him.
Upon taking on the role of rep, I was a little concerned that I had never had any experience in the role but as soon as I met Alyn, it quickly became evident that this was a man who would provide me with all the help and advice that I could ever need. This turned out to be true - Alyn was available at each and every turn and provided me with good, clear advice whilst being always available to answer any queries I had.
Alyn was also instrumental in helping me become the GMB Health and Safety representative at my workplace.
Alyn has helped me develop my skills and organised for me to attend the GMB reps’ induction course in Colwyn Bay, encourage me to complete the TUC Health and Safety and Employment Law courses as well as helping enrol me on a Health and Safety Diploma at my local college.
This has helped me tremendously and I am now a much more skilled representative, which has the advantage of me helping support my members in various ways. In turn, this visible support for members helped increase membership of GMB by 75%. Also, Alyn’s support and help encouraged me to question my employer’s introduction of a new style of welding helmet which I proved was defective and dangerous for the workforce without the use of further PPE. Ultimately, the employer purchased additional PPE to help safeguard the employees’ health.
This helped my colleagues feel protected and helped by their trade union - GMB, through Alyn. On a personal level, I feel that I have been able to help every single colleague by safeguarding their health.
It’s obviously not just Alyn, his colleagues, Mark Jones and Alison Smith, at the GMB office in Colwyn Bay, have been brilliant and very supportive with both being a calming influence and a great source of information when needed.
I have heard stories from within the manufacturing arena of area organisers within trade unions that seem to be difficult to get in contact with and don’t have enough time to help properly.
This is certainly not the case with Alyn, he makes himself available at all times and can’t do enough to help. If, on the rare occasion he doesn’t know the answer to a question, he’ll find out and get back to you. This is exactly what Trade Unions need in order to grow because without someone to rely on, a union rep's role can be quite lonely.
I can’t ask for anything better from an area organiser. He is a true mentor.