Organising and Recruiting in Higher Education

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2017 Higher Education Service Group Conference
9 November 2016

Conference notes that the higher education system in the UK is undergoing unprecedented and damaging reforms and changes. Along with severe job losses, outsourcing and restructuring the sector faces numerous challenges as we see increasing marketisation. These challenges have a direct impact on the way we organise and recruit in workplaces. Yet we know that when we are engaged in campaign activity such as the recent Higher Education (HE) pay dispute, recruitment becomes easier. After all, everyone wants to be part of an active union.

Conference also notes there are a number of members who work in workplaces where it is hard to organise such as those places where union hostility is evident and UNISON density low. In some cases, the barrier is simply a lack of key resources such as access to Fighting Fund Organisers (FFO) who we know are worth their weight in gold. Conference notes the excellent work that has been done by FFOs and recognises how they could be a valuable asset to HE branches recruiting in difficult and hard to reach areas.

We should aim to recruit over 100,000 potential members in the HE sector to boost union density and to fight any possibility of de-recognition. As well as building our density we must build the number of trade union activists in order to build strong self reliant branches.

Conference is therefore calling on the Higher Education Service Group Executive (HESGE) to:

1)Develop organising and recruitment training that is specific to Higher Education.

2)Encourage branches to share experience to develop good practice.

3)Develop a recruitment toolkit to aid recruitment in the sector.

4)Develop partnership working with branches and regions to identify achievable and measurable organising targets.

5)Encourage branches to work in partnership within their region to make the best use of resources to aid recruitment and increase UNISON density.