For UNISON, November was “Go For Growth”. Across the union, UNISON branches worked to highlight the benefits of remaining a UNISON member, whilst making sure non-members were aware of the support they would get as members. As General Secretary Dave Prentis noted:
It’s the third time we’ve run our successful recruitment campaign – Go for Growth – after last November, on the back of becoming the biggest union in the UK, and again this May. It’s a month of activity building a bigger, better and bolder UNISON. Because we’re still not content just to be the biggest union in the UK, we want to keep getting bigger – ensuring that even more people get the support, organisation and representation that UNISON provides.
What this looked like on the ground was sometimes a lot of hard work. Take Radian Housing for example. Radian is one of the largest housing associations in the south and can trace its story back to 1925, when the famous architect Herbert Collins helped form Swaythling Housing Association to address the need for affordable housing in Southampton. Our colleagues in Radian Housing who inherited this mission do great work – but unfortunately several years ago, the company took the decision to derecognise UNISON.
Despite this, there are still plenty of UNISON members working for Radian – and an active and enthusiastic steward who wasn’t daunted by the difficulties of organising an event at the Eastleigh headquarters. Jeff Emmerson from the East Hampshire UNISON branch explained:
With the help of a local organiser, I spoke to potential members and handed out flyers outside the offices of the company I work for. We then attended a local pub at lunchtime the same day to give prospective members a chance to find out more about UNISON.
Although Jeff is able to support his members under most circumstances, one of the downsides to derecogniton was that Jeff couldn’t get permission from the employer to organise onsite. So instead, he stood for 2 hours in the rain on public land because he believed so strongly in looking out for his colleagues. Jeff outlined:
The importance of being a trade union member has never been greater. Workers need to fight for their rights. Trade unions are our best hope; after all it was UNISON that overturned unfair tribunal fees.
It’s this conviction that means our union is able to support our 1.3 million members – many of whom work like Jeff in providing and supporting decent, affordable housing. Are you one of them? Join UNISON.