Organising and Recruitment

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2004 National Delegate Conference
9 June 2004

Conference welcomes the dedicated work of regions and branches on organising and recruitment and congratulates the branches involved in the highly successful schools organising and recruitment campaigns, which led to significant increases in members, workplace contacts and stewards.

Conference believes that UNISON is facing new and dynamic organisation pressures including:

1)a significant increase in public sector employment; education; healthcare; police and police staff and civil servants;

2)240,000 approximately with employers who are either external providers or overlap the old divisions of health and local government structures;

3)government policy on the devolution of political and economic powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and regional government, which has already changed national bargaining structures, and will impact on our current structures.

Conference notes with deep concern that recruitment has not kept pace with these changes and change has taken place against a backdrop of falling union density, which means that our bargaining power is being eroded; our credibility with other workers is being eroded and our influence with government is declining.

Conference welcomes the National Executive Council strategy and action plan on organising and recruitment to rebuild and revitalise the union, in particular:

a)a commitment to secure, during 2004, a real increase in membership levels to four per cent.

b)the revitalisation of branch development planning;

c)the development of a strategic plan to increase the amount of paid release for union duties and activities and to improve access to these arrangements for women, part-time workers, shift workers and black workers

d)a suite of new recruitment materials and an advice pack on how to obtain and use new starters lists;

e)enhanced training of activists, including the introduction of the strategic campaigning course.

Conferences calls on branches to take forward this strategy by adopting an active branch development plan this year that includes:

i)mapping all employers and workplaces to identify existing and potential membership;

ii)setting growth targets for members and activists;

iii)participating in employee induction sessions;

iv)improving communication and contact with current members;

v)including recruitment and organising as a standing item on all branch meeting agendas;

vi)encouraging members to become workplace representatives.

vii)calls on regions to actively encourage take up of the regional pool fund.

Conference believes that a successful and dynamic union must have an organising and recruitment strategy that:

A)is based on the organising model of trade unions, with the emphasis on the creation of strong workplace unionism, on campaigning and local activity;

B)recognises recruitment is a political action that needs to be strengthened, with additional resources and support;

C)introduces flexible structures to reflect new and changing bargaining areas and levels in the public sector. This not only includes a continuous review of union structures but also branch structures, given the changes in the public sector labour market;

D)provides for a review and analysis of potential resources available for organising and recruitment, such a review to include an examination of all aspects of UNISON expenditure including conferences, staffing and campaigning with a view to increasing the proportion of UNISON’s national, regional and branch income which is spent on organising and recruitment activity.

Therefore, Conference requests that priority be given to this task and that the National Executive Council, in consultation with all levels of the union, should bring forward proposals as a matter of urgency, building on work that has already started at national and regional levels.