Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How do we build the union in a time of cuts?

The first report at today's meeting of the UNISON NEC D&O Committee was on recruitment.

UNISON now has the most accurate membership records of any large trade union in Europe (we were told) and this enables me to say that we recruited 163,000 members last year - and that our net growth in membership was 19,000 because of the enormous turnover in membership as members retire, resign and move between jobs.

2010 was our best year for recruitment - except for 2006 when we recruited 169,000 members - at least 20,000 of whom joined simply because of our fight to defend the Local Government Pension Scheme in that year of the biggest strike since 1926.

I have an idea to boost recruitment still further (which I did share with my fellow Committee members earlier today) - why don't we stand firm in defence of public service pensions right now and join with the NUT to organise early national strike action?

Since membership turnover is likely to rise with public sector redundancies, we'll need to step up recruitment to sustain our strength to defend members' interests. The evidence of our experience is that a credible plan for popular national strike action is the best way to grow.

It might also defend the value of our pensions and hobble this awful Government.

The right time to do this is now.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

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