Grievance Handling: A Quick Guide for Stewards

  1. Ensure that the grievor is a member or “Rand” within the bargaining unit. If the member is a “Rand”, please try and get the member to sign an application for membership. However, you can not refuse to represent a “Rand” member.
  2. Obtain a copy of the grievance and grievance transmittal forms.
  3. Obtain the facts
    • Ask the member to write down the facts (time, place, names, quotes, etc.)
    • Check the collective agreement to ensure that the grievance is the appropriate mechanism and ascertain which article of the collective agreement has been violated
  4. Try to approach management with a view to understanding its perception
  5. Speak to a PIPSC Employment Relations Officer (ERO) or Regional Representative.
  6. Explore possible alternatives.
  7. Consider type of grievance: individual? group? policy?
  8. Assess any settlement grounds.
  9. If no settlement is possible, have the employee file the grievance; countersign the grievance on behalf of PIPSC. Remember that although it is not necessary to use the employer’s grievance form, a grievance must be in writing.
  • When completing the grievance form, be concise, clear and do not write more than is necessary. There should be just enough information for the employer to understand what you are complaining about. You will have a chance during the grievance hearing to add all relevant information.
  • Check the wording with your PIPSC regional office.
  • Make sure you ask for corrective action. If you are not sure of what the appropriate redress mechanism is, check with a more experienced steward or with your PIPSC regional office.
  • Make sure the grievance form is dated and signed by the employee and the employer.
  • Check if grievance is adjudicable.
  • Gather all relevant documentation to build your case.
  • Use the grievance “Fact Sheet” and “Checklist” when completing and investigating any complaint. They list all the questions that need to be addressed.
  • Privilege your notes.


  1. Allow inaction to cause a default in compliance with time limits.
  2. Commit PIPSC beyond your limits or responsibility (or comfort level) without speaking to your regional office.
  3. Settle a grievance while in doubt. Advice is always available.
  4. Neglect to answer all concrete issues raised in the grievance, but avoid long explanations.
  5. Make arrangements which violate the contract or infringe on employee or union rights.
  6. Forget that the union is a political organization that defends the interests of its members.