Targeted Organising and Recruitment

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Conference
2011 Health Care Service Group Conference
Date
25 November 2010
Decision
Carried as Amended

Conference notes that the NHS in England is witnessing one of the most radical reform agendas ever and public service cuts are beginning to hit health services hard in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. These challenges will have a huge impact on less organised workplaces where non-unionised staff density is high.

Conference also notes that, even though a number of members work in workplaces which are hard to organise, such as community settings and GP practices, the challenge of organising in these areas is one which is key to influencing the government-led cuts and reforms.

Conference notes that some of the biggest increases in recruitment take place when the union is involved in active campaigning.

Conference further notes that whilst excellent work has been done to recruit within health, the density in some workplaces demonstrates that there are still real opportunities to organise and recruit many non-unionised health workers. Previous organising initiatives, such as the 3 Companies Project and the Harvard organising model project, have demonstrated that targeted organising can increase the density of hard to organise workplaces and that there are a range of methods that can be utilised.

Conference also recognises that the proposed Coalition Government reforms mean that GPs will play a leading role in the NHS in England, yet our trade union organisation is not as strong in GP practices as it is in other areas of the health sector.

Conference welcomes the organising element of the Our NHS Our Future campaign and the good work that has been carried out by branches and regions throughout the UK on recruitment and organising. We seek to build further on this work in a targeted and sustained way.

Conference realises that there is a need to develop an effective, strategic campaign that focuses not only on increasing membership, but also on organising our members. Developing trained and confident stewards – and a sustainable branch-based membership means members can take the lead on the workplace issues affecting them and improve trade union density across the health service.

Conference therefore calls on the Health Service Group Executive to:

1)have an organising and recruitment campaign that focuses on improving the density in those areas which are critical to challenging the cuts and reforms proposed by the Coalition Government;

2)work in partnership with regions and branches across the UK to identify achievable and measurable organising targets based on increasing both membership and density and developing a sustainable organising base;

3)offer resources, training, organising capacity and guidance to assist regions and branches to improve recruitment, union recognition, facility time, density and the retention of members;

4)encourage branches to formulate bids to the Regional Pool to assist with their targeted organising work in health;

5)ensure that we run an effective recruitment and organising campaign in commissioning consortia and primary care, including in GP surgeries, different occupational groups and specialized services;

6)promote and share the different organising methods that can be utilised to improve organisation and density including methods learnt through the 3 Companies project, the Harvard organsing project, the Hidden Workers project and community organising and build relationships with professional associations;

7)encourage branch collaboration, for example to combine training programmes and make effective use of resources;

8)develop organising and recruitment training that widens our reach to community groups.