One of the most vital jobs of a steward is to recruit new members. Organised workplaces with a high density of union membership mean that UNISON has much greater influence with local management and with employers.

Organised workplaces give members a stronger sense of confidence and ability to change things, together with much higher chances of winning recognition in non-recognised workplaces.

“Nobody asked me!” That’s the single biggest reason people give for not having joined a trade union. And the best people to recruit new members are the UNISON members working alongside them.

There are many barriers that stop people joining a union. Effective organisers aim to remove as many of these as possible. Here are just a few pointers:

First impressions

Think about how you present yourself to potential members and the language you use.

You need to be assertive and clear in your arguments, but not pushy.

Inclusive language

A good technique is to use inclusive language such as “our union” or “your union”.

Avoid union jargon as far as possible and illustrate your arguments with real-life examples of how the union has been effective in their workplace.

Recruitment materials

Consider what recruitment materials to use and whether you need to produce your own to supplement the national and regional materials. Our online print service can help you with this.

UNISON’s online print service.

Sharing good practice

One of the most important things any of us can do to help recruit is celebrate union success and spread good practice between branches.

Selling the benefits

Selling points for joining the union are not just the obvious ones about protection if someone is having problems at work, but includes other work that we do, such as education and training plus membership benefits like legal assistance, financial assistance and special deals through UNISONplus.

Organising to recruit

  • Keep a list of all members and potential members in your constituency.
  • Make sure that you are informed when new employees are starting.
  • Keep a supply of UNISON recruitment literature and material.
  • Display recruitment and other UNISON posters in the workplace.
  • Always carry application forms with you – you never know when you might need them.