Young Members in Community

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2023 National Community Conference and Seminar
7 November 2022
Carried as Amended

Conference notes that UNISON membership is in decline and the current average age of a UNISON rep is over 50;

In many Community workplaces, young workers are less likely to join a trade union, and those who do join are less likely to develop as an active member;

An increasing number of young people are going to university, and so many young people are entering the workforce later in life, particularly the public sector workforce and consequently remain Young Members for a shorter period.

If we fail to reverse our membership decline and fail to effectively recruit and develop young members into activists, we will soon face a crisis in UNISON’s survival.

Conference further notes:

That the “All Work and Low Pay” report by the Living Wage Foundation (using data gathered through quantitative research of the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, the Labour Force Survey and Omnibus polling of more than 2,000 UK adults) found that 58.4% of 16–19-year-olds are paid less than the real living wage in the charity sector.

Conference believes:

As the representative bodies of young members, National Young Members Forum (NYMF), Regional Young Members Forums (RYMF) and Branch Young Members Forums are the most effective and relevant arm of the union to address the young workers crisis and require the necessary resources and training to effectively recruit, educate and organise their peers.

Additionally, Young Members in Community need the active support and encouragement from all levels of our structures both for their own development as members and activists but also to enable effective succession-planning at branch, regional and national levels.

National, regional and branch Community structures need to work together with Young Members at all levels to develop an organising strategy fit for the current challenges.

That there are a wide range of opportunities available to address this membership decline and support the recruitment, organisation and development of our Young Members in Community.

We therefore call upon the Community Service Group Executive to:

a) Work with National Young Members to develop a Young Members Organising Strategy in Community which addresses our collective recruitment and organising challenges and highlights pay and conditions within our Service Group across all sectors.

b) Work in collaboration with Young Members in Community to highlight the issues of young members pay and development across Community.

c) Consider the development of mentoring, shadowing and other education and training programmes which empower Young Members in Community to make active contributions at all levels of our structures and within regional organising initiatives.

d) Support Community branches to proactively engage with their Young Members and ensure that they are integral to formulating branch development plans and local organising strategies.

e) Encourage Young Members in Community to actively participate at all levels of our structures through all appropriate media.