Encouraging Black activists

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2014 National Black Members' Conference
1 October 2013
Carried as Amended

Statistics have shown that Black workers continue to be amongst the groups most likely to join a trade union. However, these figures do not continue in terms of Black members becoming activists. There is a gap between Black members joining UNISON and becoming active.

Nevertheless, the very essence of trade unionism is the power of the collective voice which comes from members being active and speaking and acting in their own interests. Activists are the most important link between the members and the union; they play an important role in recruiting, organising, providing information and helping members with workplace issues.

Conference believes that more Black members want to become active in UNISON but are lacking in the skills and knowledge that is required to become an activist.

Conference notes that there is a need to increase the involvement of Black members within the union structures. There is also a need for more Black members to become stewards and branch officers.

Conference welcomes the leadership school the union organises every year where activists can take steps to develop their leadership skills and take up positions in the union.

However, conference believes that more Black activists must take up active roles at all levels within the union in order to promote and encourage further recruitment and participation of Black members across UNISON.

Conference therefore calls upon the National Black Members Committee to work with the NEC to:

1)Encourage regions to identify more Black activists to attend the leadership school organised by the union annually.

2)Conduct research to determine the number of Black activists involved at branch level; holding branch officer positions and the support that is required to help Black people advance in the union.

3)Work with Learning and Organising Services to create an appropriate response to address the issue of lack of involvement of black members as activists and within the branch, exploring the root cause (skills, self development, self confidence).

4)Develop guidance for regions and branches to encourage Black members to become active in UNISON in the form of a factsheet.