Recruitment and organising: Building community links

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2020 Community Conference and Seminar
5 November 2019

Recruitment and organising: Building community links

Conference notes that Citizens UK has built diverse civil society alliances in London, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Greater Manchester, Birmingham, Cymru/Wales, Tyne and Wear and Leeds, building coalitions between trade unions, faith communities, statutory and community organisations in order to both enhance capacity and to take forward common objectives benefitting the wider community such as strengthening democratic participation and developing community organising skills.

In the North West, UNISON regionally has affiliated to this organisation and over twenty branches are affiliated and actively engaged in the work of this over-arching community organising body.

The opportunity to work in collaboration with faith-based organisations such as mosques, synagogues and churches and a wide range of civil society partners, many of which employ UNISON Community and other service group members has proved to be beneficial in terms of furthering UNISON’s campaigns around fair pay, Community members’ working terms and conditions and the value of belonging to a recognised trade union.

Through our work with Citizens UK (and Greater Manchester Citizens in particular) we have been able to successfully influence the lobbying agenda of this national body to ensure that it’s five key areas of work reflect UNISON’s policies around mental health, migrant workers and refugees, housing and homelessness, intersectional hate crime, promotion of the real Living Wage and fair working practices that ensure that publicly-funded contracts remunerate Community service group members appropriately.

This partnership working has, over time, extended the reach of the North West’s Care Workers for Change campaign and developed our working relationship with employers such as Methodist Homes (MHA) resulting in improved pay and terms and conditions for our members within that employer.

Conference believes that as the largest public sector trade union across Great Britain’s nations and regions UNISON occupies an important position as influencer and advocate for workers within our sector. Our organisation does this using a variety of tools at its disposal. One such tool is cultivating our links with community organising and capacity-building organisations such as Citizens UK enabling us to develop effective partnerships that benefit and assist in the recruitment and organisation of members within Community.

Conference therefore calls on the Community Service Group Executive to:

1. Continue to develop and highlight working partnerships with organisations which share UNISON’s campaigning objectives.

2. Promote the work of Citizens UK and other community capacity-building organisations and the linked benefits to Community membership, recruitment and organising.

3. Highlight examples of good practice in partnership working which have benefitted the recruitment, retention and organising of Community Service Group members.