WiredGov Newswire (news from other organisations)
WULF: setting workers on the right path
Gunwant Rathour, known as Gunny, has been employed by Cardiff Council as a Recycling Development Officer for 5 years. He is also a member of GMB.
Gunny works with contractors to recycle public waste, helping to meet Welsh Governments recycling targets. He also supervises the Council Waste Management Depots, ensuring that Cardiff Council becomes more eco-friendly, and working towards a Green Dragon Target, having already achieved a Level 3 grade. Staff turnover and increased recycling targets have, however, led to more work being done by less staff.
Outside of work Gunny practices Taekwondo and is an active member of Cardiff’s Sikh community. He attends temple frequently and is proud to be a member of such a close-knit group.
Starting the learning journey
Gunny wanted to apply for an apprenticeship but lacked the qualifications he needed. He sought assistance from his Union Learning Rep (ULR), Anne Newbury.
“Our rep was fantastic; it was all down to her that I began this learning journey. I spoke with Anne about my options and she put me in touch with Sue Da’Casto, the Unite WULF Project Manager, and Michael Wilson from GMB.”
He is currently working towards a Gas Safe qualification, supported by the Wales Union Learning Fund (WULF) and cross-union assistance.
Gunny had considered taking the course several times before, but with WULF funding helping him to save almost £1000, he decided to finally enrol.
“Enrolling on the course has been fantastic, it has really helped me mentally. I have always been quite fidgety during my free time, evenings and weekends, but this has given me something to do and focus on. I get restless when the children have gone to bed so learning a skill has kept me occupied.
“Thanks to WULF and the guidance of my ULR I can help not just myself but the wider community. I am an active member in the Sikh community, and our morals state that if someone is in need, we should help them.”
Sharing WULF in the workplace
Gunny is keen to spread the word about WULF and get his colleagues involved.
“The WULF project is massively important as there are many people out there who will benefit from this. Front line staff can have a high turnover for many reasons and WULF gives people additional skills and qualifications which they can fall back on or use to progress in the future.
“I think it should be advertised more. I have spoken to other people in the workplace and they were amazed at the funding that’s available."
“I hope in the future to further my career and use the Gas Safe accreditation. I am a people person and look forward to being able to work more directly with the public.”
Changing perceptions of union membership
Like many workers, Gunny didn’t realise the full value that trade unions bring to the workplace.
“I always thought that unions were there to help you with disciplinaries or trouble in the workplace, even health and safety issues. It’s more than just that though, there are so many more benefits available to you if you are in a union than just support for a grievance or disciplinary.
“GMB have helped me obtain funding for my course and given me guidance on furthering my career. My union learning rep has the knowledge and contacts to set me on the correct path.”
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