Wednesday, June 20, 2012

UNISON NDC 12: "Supporting organising on the ground"

Tuesday lunchtime I went to my first Conference "fringe".  Sue Highton  (NEC) was chair.  I was late so I missed the contribution from Graeme Horne, Branch Secretary, Birmingham LG.

However, I did listen to the branch organisers Louise Hoare and Lewis Carson who were employed via the UNISON fighting fund to recruit and organise in social care nursing homes. 

Many employers in the sector are either obstructive or even anti-trade union. They have had to resort to "cold calling" and leafleting outside workplaces. Yet they have recruited members and potential activists.  It is vital they support members to become activists or any recruitment will not prove sustainable.  A £10 "recruit a friend or colleague" prize proved successful.

Greg Thomson, Head of Strategic Organisers, UNISON introduced the new UNISON mobile phone app.  He was at pains to say that this is not a "new organiser" but there to support organisers. You can sign up members "on line". Diana Veitch, National Development Officer, UNISON explained that there will be 11 areas in the app. Three main aims is that it will enable mapping of members, be dynamic, efficient and future proof.

Roger McKenzie, AGS for Organising finished the seminar by saying what many members want from the union is a "superhero" to help them. What we need to do is to empower members to realise that they are the real "superheros". We do need to move away from a servicing model to organising model with a supportive servicing element.

Roger made it clear that there is no high tech substitute to talking to people but what we want to open is many gateways as possible. We do need to establish a new "2 way" relationship with our members. We need to look at the things we do differently.

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