I was there to lead on a workshop on "Communications and social media". Many UNISON branches in WEET have similar organising challenges as in the Housing Association and voluntary sector.
We share the problem of a fragmented work force spread over a very large geographical area. Members and activists can feel isolated and "out of the loop". Non members are not aware of the union and all the things that the union can do for them. Traditional means of communication are difficult to carry out and very resource intense.
In the workshop we looked at the pros and cons of setting up branch Websites, blogs, FaceBook groups, Twitter, Video conferencing and mobile texting (amongst other things).
This is to supplement and not totally replace traditional trade union communications such as face to face meetings, newsletters or telephone calls.
London WEET are a great bunch of dedicated union activists and I really enjoyed the workshop and their questions, ideas and general enthusiasm (even from Sid who had been banned from speaking to me or anyone else about pensions!)