‘There are many thousands to recruit’

“Recruitment and organising is at the core of everything our branches and staff do and our recruitment plan is designed to take us right through to 2014,” says Northern Ireland regional secretary Patricia McKeown.

“We have specific, ongoing recruitment targets, and have raised these by 50% for this campaign and identified the 10 leading employers where we will be concentrating our resources.

“We are confident this will once again attract large numbers of disadvantaged workers who need the protection and strength of UNISON.”

UNISON competes for membership with other organisations, but is the largest union in health and social services in Northern Ireland, where jobs such as home helps and residential care are part of the health service and school staff work for education boards rather than local authorities.

“UNISON here works in a competitive world, but what is certain is that there are many thousands of workers still to recruit,” says Ms McKeown.

“Many new workers are now coming here from overseas – and there is increasing casualisation through the use of agency workers. We have to adjust how we recruit and find ways to defend vulnerable sections of the workforce.”