Recruiting and organising Black members in the fragmented workforce

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2017 Local Government Service Group Conference
23 February 2017

It is important that Black workers and members are equipped for the challenges within the changing and evolving landscape of the UK today, especially in delivering public services and local government sectors. Conference recognises that Black workers left, behind after the cuts, are now more likely to be working, in more isolated workplaces, under increased pressure and with less resource making them even more susceptible to unfair and unequal treatment. A high proportion of these Black workers work in the “fragmented workforce” where they experience low pay and poor working conditions are eligible to join UNISON.

Conference believes that recruitment is more than just handing out leaflets. Branches need assistance to reach out to Black workers and members in the fragmented workforce. These workers need a revised strategy to engage them as the traditional approach is weak at best and not effective at worst.

Our existing members in these employers need to be organised and encouraged to become activists. They will then need continual support, bespoke training and mentoring.

UNISON should explore effective and clear pathways which will assist Black members in not only developing as activists, but becoming leaders for the future.

It is therefore important that financial reasons do not become a barrier to Black members in the fragmented workforce becoming active. If an employer does not recognise trade unions (UNISON), it does not have a legal duty to give members paid time off to attend training to become workplace reps or health and safety reps etc.

Conference calls on the local government service group executive to work with the national Black members committee to work with the NEC to:

1)Develop information and resources targeted at Black members and workers in the fragmented workforce in local government.

2)Consider ways to support members who wish to become workplace representatives but are unable to access paid time from their employer.

3)Develop further specific training targeted towards potential Black leaders

4)Build joint working with the newly developed private contractors national forum and explore how this might be achieved.