A guide to general staff branch contact people

Posted By TEU on Mar 1, 2012 |

October 2011


For further information about these roles, please contact your branch president, branch organiser, or the TEU national office

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. What might be included in the role?
  3. Branch communications
  4. Regular contact with the general staff sector group
  5. Other branch activities or structures the contact person/s could be involved in
  6. Involvement in other events
  7. How might the branch select a contact person/s?
  8. How long would someone hold the position for?


In order to more effectively represent general staff member interests, the general staff sector group (GSSG) would like to see a network of branch contacts set up across all branches, acting as the point of contact for the group, and as a means of feeding back issues and ideas from general staff branch members.

The TEU Rules leave the organisation of branch representation or contacts for the various sector groups to each branch.  This means that branches are free to establish their own local general staff networks in whatever form best suits them.  This guide therefore seeks to offer suggestions to branches about how a general staff network could be set up, rather than being a list of ‘must-do’s’.  We hope you find it a useful starting point.

For further information about general staff involvement in the TEU, go to:


What might be included in the role?

Branch communications

  • Noticeboards – general staff posters (for example – the TEU General Staff Manifesto).
  • Email – ideas or issues from general staff members that the branch would like the general staff sector group to discuss.
  • Meetings with general staff members (for example – a morning or afternoon tea get together, a regular time-slot at branch meetings).
  • Reminders to members to look at the general staff page on the TEU website www.teu.ac.nz (the page can be found under ‘groups’ on the drop-down menu).

Regular contact with the general staff sector group

The general staff sector group is the union’s national representative body for general staff.  It meets twice a year, and is responsible for completing an annual work plan in-between meetings.  The work plan typically includes industrial priorities, organising and campaigning issues, policy development (both industrial and professional), and responding to sector discussion documents and/or government submissions of relevance to general staff.

The sector group needs to ensure that it is reflecting the interests and concerns of the wider general staff membership.  The best way it can do this is by staying in touch with branches, ideally through a system of contact people.  This doesn’t have to be complicated – a brief email from the branch outlining main issues, ideas or concerns 2-3 times a year would be very helpful.

From time to time the general staff sector group may also need input into submissions or consultation documents.  A contact person/s at each branch would ensure that the group is getting a representative view on issues.

Other branch activities or structures the contact person/s could be involved in

  • The branch may decide to include a general staff representative on the branch committee.
  • The contact person may be able to advise the branch on suitable general staff representatives for institution committees, working parties etc. that the TEU is involved in.

Involvement in other events

  • The branch organising committee for the TEU’s annual General Staff Day.
  • Local and national union activities.
  • Other union activities, for example events organised by the Council of Trade Unions.

Note: Branches may decide that a network of general staff contact people works best for them.  This can be a very effective way of organising the branch, especially larger branches or those with multiple campuses.  It’s also a great way to share the work around and encourage involvement from members.

How might the branch select a contact person/s?

There are no requirements in the TEU Rules that branches need to meet.  Each branch is free to choose a contact person/s by any means they see fit.  A call for nominations, expressions of interest, or the tried and true method of ‘shoulder-tapping’ are all quite legitimate ways of finding people to represent general staff interests at the branch level.

How long would someone hold the position for?

Again, this is very much up to each branch to decide.  Keep in mind the need to ‘grow’ member involvement and activism and not ‘burning out’ one person.  It’s probably a good idea to have some kind of review of the role each year (perhaps at the branch AGM).

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