Organising for Recognition Across the Public Services

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2002 National Delegate Conference
25 February 2002
Carried as Amended

Conference applauds the contribution made by branches, regions and service groups in organising and supporting members employed in the community and voluntary sector and by private companies.

Conference notes that an increasing number of UNISON members work in these sectors and for other non-public sector employers providing public services. Often these members are not covered by a recognition agreement, or are subject to agreements that have severe deficiencies. In addition, many TUPE transfers result in loss of recognition rights, at least for new recruits. In many cases branches have relied on their own resources for advice, information and organisation to deal with new demands.

UNISON is committed to developing our organisational strength in these sectors. It is recognised that this is essential if the Union is to be able to support this growing group of members effectively. This will require improved organisational support including an increased commitment of organising staff time to local bargaining in line with WOW principles.

Conference recognises that campaigning to achieve effective recognition agreements can assist significantly in enabling UNISON to build sustainable organisation amongst members, and that the Employment Rights Act (ERA) introduces important new legal rights which can strengthen the Union’s ability to secure recognition and to improve those agreements that are deficient.

Conference calls upon the National Executive Council to work with branches, regions and service groups to develop an organising strategy amongst members working for non-public sector employers providing public services, which seeks to:

1)Raise awareness of the value of recognition as an organising tool;

2)Build upon ERA provisions regarding voluntary and statutory recognition to strengthen membership organisation, improve collective bargaining arrangements and secure effective facilities agreements, including time off;

3)Use the new right to be accompanied provisions to help build local steward organisation;

4)Follow through in securing recognition in cases of employer transfers for both current and potential members;

5)Ensure bargaining units that have recognition are well organised and self-sustaining;

6)Closer liaison between branches and organising staff where employers operate across region and service group boundaries.

Key activities to support this strategy should include:

a)Continued development and support for the new Bargaining Information System, which will provide collection and exchange of information;

b)Region and service groups working together to identify target employers;

c)Development and promotion of comprehensive bargaining and organising advice, and associated training materials, for regions, branches and activists;

d)Enhanced support for members and activists working for non-public sector employers providing public services;

e)A review of resourcing requirements;

f)A review of recruitment strategy including branch allocation mechanism, materials, integration of UNISON Direct and internet resources.