Your branch

Unite CEC Branch is branch number SC/133/86

Unite the Union is recognised by the Council for the purposes of collective bargaining for local government employees and craft operatives.

Here you can learn about the different roles in your branch and how to get involved.

Roles in your branch

It takes various roles and a lot of work to cover all the business of a union branch—whether that’s representing individual members, promoting equality in the workplace, conducting health and safety inspections, working on Council policy, researching social issues, attending committees… the list goes on!

Learn about the roles and current post holders below.

Branch officials

Convener (Chair)

Graeme Smith, Convener

Graeme Smith is the Convener.

The chair presides over all meetings of the branch, keeps order and ensures that business is conducted in accordance with the union’s rules and branch standing orders.

The Chair works closely with the branch secretary to draw up meeting agendas, verify minutes and signs officials documents; is impart and is seen to act fairly.


Brian Robertson, Secretary

Brian Robertson is the Secretary.

The role of branch secretary is vital for our democracy. They:

  • bring members together – arranging meetings, keeping records and communicating with members.
  • look after branch funds – all Branches have their own funds to help meet the costs of day to day running and the secretary (along with the Treasurer) ensures that the finances are correctly recorded and reported.
  • work with reps to ensure that the union is strong in their workplace
  • ensuring that the branch has a say in union elections and policy making – submitting nominations and motions for conferences.


Brian Robertson is the Treasurer.

The treasurer works in conjunction with the branch secretary to ensure that the finances of the branch are correctly recorded and reported. They prepare the paperwork for the quarterly audit by the regional administration. The rules allow for the positions of treasurer and secretary to be held by the same person.

Equalities Officer

Fiona Ewing, Equalities Officer

Fiona Ewing is the Equalities Officer.

Raises awareness and promotes equality of opportunity in the branch.

Advises and supports members in relation to equality issues.

Encourages participation of women, BAEM, LGBT and disabled members at all levels and promotes education for minority groups.

Scrutinise equalities impact assessments and act as a staff representative on these.

Represents the branch on the Diversity and Inclusion Focus Group to drive equalities in the Council.

Work with the Council’s colleague networks to ensure equalities issues are raised effectively.

union Learning rep

Amanda Cunningham, Union Learning Rep

Amanda Cunningham is the Union Learning Rep.

Raise awareness of the benefits of learning.

Encourages fellow workers to take up learning opportunities.

Support members in learning.

Provide advice and guidance on learning.

Secure equal opportunities in learning.


Workplace reps (shop stewards)

Find a rep.

Make a difference in their workplace by supporting, advising and representing members.

Problem solving, communication, negotiating and influencing skills will be a key feature of the reps job.

Allowed paid time off for trade union duties and training.

Reps attend meetings with management, including the Joint Consultative Committees for their area and other meetings with the Council’s leadership.

Health and safety reps

Find a health and safety rep.

Investigate potential hazards and dangerous occurrences at the workplace and examine the causes of accidents at the workplace.

Investigate complaints by any employee relating to health, safety or welfare at work.

Take up health, safety or welfare issues with the employer.

Carry out regular inspections representing workers in talks with the employer or the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and other agencies.

Attending meetings of safety committees.

Health and safety reps are allowed paid time off for duties, inspections and training.

Environment rep

Work with your employer and members carry out an environmental survey of the workplace.

Encourage and assist members with advice on how to reduce their carbon footprint at work.

Work with reps, community activists and councillors to ensure the Council commits to reducing their climate emissions effectively and fairly. This includes a firm understanding and critical attention to the Council’s climate strategy.

Get involved

You may want to become a rep if you’d like to

  • support your colleagues in the workplace
  • fight for equality for workers and marginalised group
  • learn a broad range of skills
  • engage in social and political issues
  • unite with like-minded people for solidarity in the workplace and community
  • help City of Edinburgh Council workers get the best terms of employment and pay.

What you need

To be a rep you need to

  • hold the values of equality and the rights of workers
  • be willing to work with reps across the Council to improve conditions
  • attend regular meetings—you’re entitled to pay time away from work for this.

What you need to do

  1. Contact a branch official to let them know you’re interested.
  2. Get nominations by two colleagues that are Unite members.
  3. Complete the relevant Unite training.
  4. Attend branch meetings.

Training and support

Unite provides extensive—and accredited—training to ensure you are equipped with the skills needed.

As a branch, we also run monthly training sessions to make sure all reps are confident in their role. These cover a range of topics, including Council-specific matters.