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2011 National Delegate Conference
1 March 2011

UNISON and its members face unprecedented challenges with cuts in public sector spending and up to one million jobs directly under threat; wages frozen and reducing in value as inflation runs at 4% and above; pensions under threat and employers attacking terms and conditions.

Branches and activists are under intense pressure responding to these attacks on a daily basis. The union faces major challenges to maintain membership, and to recruit new members and activists.

This is also at a time of long term decline in trade union membership and reducing density in workplaces.

The average age of UNISON members is 49 and our density amongst people under the age of 27 is less than 9%.

Despite the challenges and demands the current situation also provides opportunities to recruit and organise and to promote UNISON to a wider audience particularly young people as young workers, university and school students and young unemployed become active in campaigns against the cuts

Conference agrees it is essential we renew our commitment to organising with a particular focus on young people and calls for:

1)a reprioritisation of spending from ‘servicing’ activity to ‘organising’ work;

2)an immediate evaluation of the Three Companies project followed by a programme to train organising staff and activists in the techniques successfully piloted;

3)clear guidance for branches and regions on approaches to reduce the case work undertaken by branch officers and organising staff to allow them to focus on organising and campaigning and to increase the role of workplace representatives in case work;

4)branches and regions to develop organising plans as part of campaign activity against the cuts and for regions to organise training events to develop and promote an organising culture.

5)branches to be encouraged to meet with other branches who have organised successfully, particularly those other branches who have achieved successful recruitment or density figures.

6)E-mail addresses on the RMS system to be easily available for use by the branch secretary to inform and organise members and reduce the cost of postage.