Recruiting and Organising in Police and Justice

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2015 Police & Justice Service Group Conference
18 June 2015
Carried as Amended

Conference notes that five years of public sector cuts to police and justice have taken their toll on UNISON membership levels across all Sectors within our Service Group. Conference recognises that these cuts are likely to be repeated over the course of this current parliament and will only intensify the pressure on our membership. While UNISON will oppose such cuts, and the damage that shrinking the workforce will do to public services, these dangers will present a very real threat to UNISON’s strength in the workplace and needs a robust organising response from our union.

In addition to the cuts, Conference notes that we continue to also face major challenges to our current membership base from:

a)The on-going privatisation of police and probation services

b)The increasing pace of police force collaboration and strategic partnerships, and

c)The threat to national collective bargaining in both police and probation

Conference is particularly concerned at the decision of the Secretary of State for Justice in March 2015 to give notice on the removal of check-off facilities for UNISON members working for the National Probation Service from the end of September this year. Conference recognises that it is absolutely essential for UNISON to rise to the challenge of check-off being removed for these members and that we ensure that all NPS members successfully transfer onto direct debit payment of their UNISON subscriptions before the end of September. Conference welcomes the work that UNISON has put in place to achieve these ends and the efforts of UNISON branches, activists and staff in delivering the direct debit switch-over in the National Probation Service.

Conference acknowledges that UNISON branches within the Service Group have been successful in maintaining membership density levels at high levels and in hitting their recruitment targets, but realises the threats we face will place increasing demands on our ability to maintain our members and activists.

Conference therefore instructs the Service Group Executive to work with Regional Police and Justice Committees, branches and activists to develop an overall organising strategy in our Service Group to address these threats, with the following aims and objectives:

1)Raise membership and membership density in all sectors within the Service Group

2)Target employers and workplaces where density is lowest

3)Take into account the need to organise effectively in the growing outsourced workforce

4)Seek to ensure that all threats to check-off are responded to quickly and effectively to protect the union’s membership and income

5)Review our branch structures as necessary to ensure that we are delivering an effective service to members

6)Support branches and activists with appropriate materials to assist with recruitment and organisation

7)Seek to recruit and support new activists

8)Work with sympathetic employers to promote the value of UNISON membership

9)Publicise the value of UNISON membership within police and justice as widely as possible