Campaigning award winner looks to the future
4th December 2012
Kate Hudson, CWU Women's Officer at South
Midlands Mail Centre (SMMC), is the proud winner of this year's
Midlands TUC award for campaigning.
Kate, who is also Assistant Regional Secretary, was rewarded for the huge impact she has had, doing groundbreaking work for women in her branch - and beyond.
Among the achievements she was praised for at the awards dinner in Birmingham on 23 November, was the creation of a pack that helps female reps be effective in their role and feel empowered to make a real difference.
Kate said: "It can take so long to get to grips with the processes of a union - with how it all works. The pack explains the union's structure and useful things like how to put a motion together and your role within the branch. Basically, it tells you everything you need to know when you first become a women's officer."
The information is now on a USB stick so that women in other branches can customize it and use it as well. Kate added: "I'm really happy to share it - it's not about me at the end of the day. There's no point having it sitting in a draw. This is my way of trying to help women make change happen in the workplace and in the union.
Kate has also been instrumental in setting up a joint Women's Committee at the mail centre. Again, it's about sharing knowledge and empowering others.
Kate said: "When you're stepping through that door, it's as a woman first and then as a union rep, manager or member. It's a good way for everyone to understand what issues women have to deal with in the workplace.
Part of the agreement is to have a CWU women's advisor on each shift "It means that female members will have a chance to dip their toe in and get a feel for what it is like to be a representative by telling colleagues who to go to with an issue or where to go for more information, without having to take on the full role of a rep.
It's a joint committee and hopefully all at SMMC will benefit.
Kate has also helped make a real difference by introducing a RAM (Reasonable Adjustments Made) card. The card acts as a quick and easy way to convey personal information without the need for a conversation.
"It's just the size of a credit card," explained Kate, "and it might contain information about a disability or rehab plan which may entitle the holder to restrictive practices or more frequent breaks, for example. The member decides what is on the card and then it's signed off. It's dignified and simple for everyone involved."
Ultimately, Kate wants to see more women having influence in the union. She said: "If I can help in a small way to change things and get more women involved - more women standing in elections and being reps - I'll be happy. Winning this award is not about me - it's about all of us, and the women that come after me."
Midlands Regional Secretary Lee Baron agrees:
"Kate has been a rep for about 15 years and in that time she
has achieved so much and helped many other women get involved.
"It was funny though," he continued "because I chair the Midlands TUC and so I knew that Kate had won but I couldn't tell her. I said, 'It's a big category, so don't worry, just enjoy your night', but afterwards she joked that she was really cross with me because if she'd known she was going to win she would have made time to wash her hair!"