- 2009 Local Government Service Group Conference
- 13 June 2009
It is clear from the 2008 NJC and SJC pay disputes that our low density in many local authorities and outsourced local government services undermines our bargaining power at local and at national level.
The LGA is controlled by the Conservatives, out of a total of 440 local authorities; the majority of local authorities are either Conservative controlled (215) or are No Overall Control (135). In Scotland the overwhelming majority of councils are now coalition or minority administrations and in Wales the majority of councils are No Overall Control
In this political and economic climate, the threat of derecognition and attacks on facility time is real. We need to prepare for the possibility that a Conservative Government could be elected within the next two years.
Regions and branches consistently report low membership levels amongst low paid and part-time workers, which also leads to an inability to fill low paid seats and undermines the democracy of our 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. Local government workers who are Women, Black, LGBT, Disabled, young or older are better able to fight discrimination and challenge inequality when they are a member of a strong, organising union. We must use the introduction of the Equality Act, which will extend the positive duties across all equality strands in the public sector, and of Equality Representatives, as opportunities to recruit new members and new activists
It is critical that we reconnect with our members and ensure everyone in UNISON starts to recruit work colleagues, friends and family who work across local services. UNISON has a proud record of fighting for members’ rights at work and it is of supreme importance that we publicise our successes in order to demonstrate that we are the union for workers in the public services – whether in-house or outsourced. There is no better time to recruit and organise.
The Local Government Service Group Conference therefore pledges to develop and support recruitment initiatives across all sectors in the Service Group and asks branches to ensure that:
1)Organising and recruitment campaigns are built into all branch activities, especially where union density levels are below fifty per cent
2)Adequate resources are devoted to organising and recruitment, including sector specific recruitment materials and targeted recruitment initiatives aimed at traditionally under-represented groups.
3)Employee induction programmes are used as a means of recruiting new starters
4)Every attempt is made to obtain and use new starters’ lists, as a simple and effective means of recruiting new employees
5)Agreements are reached with employers to positively promote trade union membership in workplaces. Branches work with stewards in those workplaces to develop agreements with employers on facility time and training
6)While recognising the hard work of officials and activists, and fully supporting continuing recruitment campaigns, conference understands that the greatest spur to recruitment is the demonstration that unions are effective at fighting back on behalf of their members. One well-built strike is more important for recruitment than propaganda.
7)Participation in the One Step Ahead training programme takes place to assist existing reps to develop and improve their organising skills and
8)An organising plan to expand membership into all the unorganised employers where the branch has members is drawn up with a view to achieving recognition and expanding membership and our activist base
9)Greater use is made of regional pool funds to finance organising and recruitment activities including secondments of activists
Conference further calls on the Local Government Service Group to:
a)Support local and Regional recruitment initiatives by developing recruitment materials for sectors, occupational groups and others, such as part-time workers
b)Work with the self-organised groups and young members forum to develop targeted recruitment initiatives and to encourage and support local and regional recruitment activities including those at community based events (e.g., recruitment stalls at LGBT Pride events throughout the UK)
c)Ensure all sectors in the Service Group are mapped to highlight the potential for recruitment
d)Branches are fully supported in organising recruitment campaigns in workplaces such as FE and 6th Form Colleges, community and voluntary sector, housing associations etc
e)Encourage branches who have successfully recruited to visit other branches to give positive examples of successful recruitment campaigns and how they were achieved