Union’s spring recruitment campaign pays dividends

Tim Lezard

UNISON has reported a surge in membership, despite 446 jobs a day being lost in local government and the police force.

Figures released for March showed the union recruited a third more members during the month than they did during the same period last year.

General secretary Dave Prentis told the union’s NEC: “Every redundancy is a tragedy. The new welfare reforms will see whole families suffering. Families will leave the streets they have lived in for years. Children will have to change schools. It is draconian.

“But UNISON is where it should be. We are at the heart of the campaigns against cuts, against NHS privatisation and in favour of an alternative budget.”

He said the union has shifted resources into local support for branches and members to support our members in tough times.

And the spring recruitment campaign had seen the union focus all its energies on recruitment and organising – with dramatic results. In March, recruitment figures showed a leap of more than 30% compared with the previous year and at the same time, the union saw fewer members leave the union.

Dave Prentis said: “Not only have we stood up to this government but we are growing again.”

Assistant general secretary for organising, Roger McKenzie added: “The breadth of the organising challenge we face is immense. We need to organise across workplaces with different employers, different contracts and different sectors. And we need to develop more stewards and activists to keep our branches strong.”

Liz Snape, assistant general secretary for communications, campaigns and policy told the NEC that “the early results of the recruitment campaign are really encouraging. It shows that when this union is really focused, plans what it wants to do and sets out to do it – we really can reap the benefits.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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