Congratulations to the Prospect Union, and in particular to the Archaeologists’ Branch of which Wessex Archaeology has a recognised section. The branch won the Best Recruitment and Organisation branch for large branches of Prospect at the National Conference in Birmingham. The section within Wessex has been somewhat revitalised over the past year, and has been a big part of that achievement, with membership almost doubling to around 75 members of staff at the time of writing. This has largely been due to the active role new and established reps have been taking across the company in engaging with Wessex staff, offering support and advice while enabling another route of communication between staff and management. We now have reps in every Wessex office of more than five people, are establishing more Health & Safety reps to support the Wessex H&S committee and are re-establishing the Union Learning Rep position to help co-ordinate training opportunities for staff as well as helping to develop the Train a Trainer system across the company. The Branch have become more engaged, with an active Facebook page which also allows members to contact the branch reps with questions and queries.

The work of Prospect as a union is at every level- from the recently passed motions at Conference to lobby government for closing the Gender Pension Gap, through the Branch level information on legal requirements for welfare, PPE and adequate training and the Section level negotiations on pay and conditions to the individual assistance the reps to members every day when confronted with concerns or problems. We are very happy that Wessex Archaeology continues to acknowledge the importance of recognising a union within the workplace in improved communication, staff happiness and legal expertise in employment law. We are also very proud of all our reps, who give support and help to our members in their own time.

By Ben Saunders, Archaeologist