Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Learning from Organising?

In preparation for Wednesday's meeting of the UNISON NEC I was talking with my old friend and comrade, Roger Bannister, who drew to my attention some content of the draft of the NEC Annual Report for Conference, which we will be considering at the meeting.

The content referred to the "Three Companies Project" about which I have blogged before ( - more than once (

The project was a joint initiative with the American Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to organise employees of three particular global contractors raking in profits from the privatisation of "support services" in the public sector.

I say "was" as I learned for the first time from reading the draft of our report to Conference that the project had come to a "successful conclusion" in March, a piece of information I had not learned as a member of our Development and Organisation (D&O) Committee (the relevant strategic committee of the NEC) - and which has not yet received much publicity.

The website set up to promote the project ( has little to say on this topic - the latest post there is from November.

The NEC has been promised, but has not yet received, an assessment of the effectiveness of the project.

There is certainly a need to organise contractors' workforces, whose unfair pay and conditions contribute to super-profits for global corporations. This need is expressed persuasively on the project's website ( - what UNISON now needs from this Project is a thorough assessment of what we have learned.

It is usually true that we learn more from our failures and mistakes than from our successes. The correct test of the value of a pilot project is not it's success but it's contribution to our learning.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Not wanting to be confrontational but the question I keep asking myself is what can the left ie the SP, SWP or the LRC teach any union about organising?

As a Unite member that question came up last year when in the run up to the Unite leadership election Comrade Hicks discovered organising.

What is it new that the left can bring to the table if reports of the 3 companies initiative or the Unite organising agenda do not live up to expectation?