Supporting members in the private and community sectors

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2011 National Delegate Conference
1 March 2011
Carried as Amended

Conference notes with concern the growing number of staff and UNISON members transferring to the private and community sections, and acknowledges the problems faced by branches in working with members and employers in these areas.

Conference recognises that UNISON must commit to organise within outsourced sections as they grow in prominence for public service delivery. Effective and sustainable organisation in these sections is essential for the overall growth and development of the union as a whole.

Branches with outsourced membership should prioritise, through the branch assessment process, the existing and potential membership levels within each organisation by:

1)committing to develop sustainable union organisation within each outsourced service based on stewards employed by each organisation;

2)establishment of Private Contractor and Community sections reporting to branch committees;

3)development of joint local bargaining/consultation committees within each outsourced organisation, led by stewards from within each employer;

4)prioritising the negotiation of better time off agreements for stewards and branch officers who work for Private Contractors and Community employers;

5)encourage branches to use the UNISON facility time guide when talking to employers about facility time.

Regions should ensure:

a)Community and Private Company employer regional structures to support branch activity and provide access to participation in UNISON;

b)regions should use the national guidance from the Community Service Group, currently being piloted by Eastern region;

c)map time off agreements throughout branches to share good practice;

d)liaise with the Community Service Group Executive and national Private Contractors Unit to identify national strategic organising targets and to co-ordinate activity.

Conference calls on the National Executive Council to develop a strategy for the individual representation of a fragmented workforce recognising the problems in time off being available across employer groups within one branch. This should include examining:

i)a protocol on the representation of members for branches;

ii)guidance on levels of representation eg responsibilities of branches and region;

iii)guidelines and assistance for branches to support and enable the employment of staff, and/or pool their resources with other branches, to employ staff to organise and represent members in Private Contractors and Community sections.

iv)how to support development of tailored workplace training and mentoring for members and activists in community organisations and how best to promote the positive benefits of branch organised participation;

v)current approach to involving members in the private and community sectors in the branch meeting cycle and the Annual General Meeting;

vi)the strategy for workplace organising in a context of increased de-recognition in these sectors whilst membership is growing.