Carry on Recruiting

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2009 National LGBT Conference
31 July 2009

Conference recognises that the low level of union membership in many employers in the public services undermines UNISON’s bargaining power at local and national level. Increasing the number of UNISON members is vital to our future as a vibrant and effective trade union. Recruitment is fundamental to the fight for equality. We need to grow in numbers and density to grow in influence with employers and government and ensure that we continue to have a powerful voice for equality both within the workplace and in influencing national policy debates. Workers who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT), Women, Black, Disabled, young or older are better able to fight discrimination and challenge inequality when they are a member of a strong, organising union.

Individual members explaining the benefits of UNISON membership to colleagues in the workplace can be the best method of recruitment the union has at its disposal. It is important to engage with non-members and explain that UNISON does not only provide a safety net when problems occur at work, but an opportunity to get involved in local, national and international work aimed at securing fairer workplaces and society. The opportunities for LGBT members to self-organise within UNISON are further good reasons to join.

The National LGBT Committee promotes membership to LGBT workers by advertising in LGBT media or supporting high profile national events such as Black Pride and Bi-Con. Conference commends the work also carried out by branch and regional LGBT groups. All regional groups have a presence in Pride events in their local area. Recently, other examples of good initiatives include using local LGBT media and community magazines and distributing information in local LGBT bars and pubs.

Conference notes that retaining existing members is just as important as recruiting new ones. All the arguments for joining the union can be used to try and persuade someone from leaving. Recruitment activities within LGBT communities also help retention as well. Such activities can raise the profile of the union and show members that the union is committed to equality. They are also great opportunities to organise existing members and give them information about our self-organised group.

Conference calls on:

1.The National LGBT Committee and regional and branch groups to continue to place recruitment at the heart of all of their activities;

2.Regional LGBT Groups to encourage all their members to carry out workplace recruitment;

3.Individual LGBT members to go into their workplaces and speak to non-members about the benefits of joining UNISON.