Source: Unite Union New Zealand
As a rule, anything at all to do with your employment should be in writing and a physical or digital copy made available to you at all times. This can mean things like; your letter of employment, changes to your pay/hours or position. This idea should extend to any and all complaints you might make, no matter how small they may seem. This ensures you as an employee are fully informed of your rights in the workplace, which helps to make people feel more confident at work, and it leaves a handy paper trail to take to your union delegate/organiser if your complaint receives no attention from management.
A ‘friendly’ chat with the boss is not enough of a record, they are only human and are likely to have several issues that require their attention at once and it could slip their mind without a written reminder. They could also simply ‘forget’ your chat with them if it becomes less work/trouble for them to do so, leaving you back at square one with nothing to show for it. Don’t assume that just because you have aired your grievances in person that they will do anything about it. This can happen to serious complaints, or when staff ask about improving pay or conditions in store. (how often does the boss forget about disciplinary meetings?)
Especially if you are asking for additional pay or extra hours/responsibilities it is vital to get it on paper. An email or a text message is just as good! As long as yourself and your boss/manager have access to copies. Once you have this then you have a thread you (and your union) can keep tugging on until you get some results.
By spending a few minutes after you talk to your boss writing out a text or an email, you can save yourself months of frustration and ignored complaints. It is the easiest way to ensure that what you have to say is being heard by those that need to hear it. This attitude should also apply to any important documents that relate to your work, things like your contract, letter of employment, or records of any training modules you might have completed. You have a right to them and your employer is required to keep them and to provide you with copies of all of these when you request them.
Is the Organiser for Otago and Southland members and is based in Dunedin.
022 353 0408