Organising in the Community and Voluntary Sector

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2005 Local Government Service Group Conference
25 February 2005
Carried as Amended

Conference notes the National Development and Organisation Committee Report ‘Organising in the Voluntary Sector’, adopted in 2000.

UNISON now has 44,000 members in the community and voluntary sector – a significant increase since the organising plan was adopted.

Conference acknowledges that the growth of membership is as a result of recruitment and also the increasing numbers of staff transfers from local government. Current Government policy is explicitly to “diversify” service delivery to external providers, including the community and voluntary sector.

While there are around 500,000 paid workers employed in the community and voluntary sector, it is estimated that around 85% of the sector is not organised. In addition this workforce is growing rapidly and has considerable recruitment potential. Anecdotal evidence suggests that black, disabled, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and women workers are particularly likely to be working in the community and voluntary sector.

Conference believes that UNISON should continue to promote the Community and Voluntary Sector Organising Plan and instructs the Service Group Executive to work with the National Community and Voluntary Sector Forum to:

1)Continue to identify key national and regional target employers with a view to securing recognition

2)Assist branches to recruit and organise and increase stewards and contacts at workplace level

3)Continue to work with regions on recruitment in regional plans

4)Enable stewards to participate in UNISON activist training and facilitate the participation of voluntary sector members in UNISON’s lay democratic structures

5)Develop integrated support structures for representatives across all service groups.

6)Ensure that membership records are updated as this sector experiences considerable turnover and change

7)Ensure that a bargaining strategy is developed at branch and regional and national level as part of the organising strategy

8)Actively promote self-organisation in recruitment and in initiatives to encourage members to become activists, working with the self-organised groups to overcome the organising challenges of reaching isolated and scattered members by a blanket approach to publicity and providing easy access for members to regional level self-organisation.