Workplace Report May 2013

Recruitment and organisation news

UNISON’s spring offensive gets union ‘growing again’

Public services union UNISON says its two-week spring recruitment campaign was a big success and that the union is growing again.

The campaign, combining TV and newspaper advertising with intensive local activity, saw 4,202 new members join in the first week, which started on 11 March. This amounted to a 63% increase in recruitment compared to the same week in the previous year.

The second week of the campaign saw 3,456 new members recruited — up 36% on the equivalent week a year ago.

Overall, the union’s March recruitment figures leapt more than 30% compared with 2012 and, at the same time, fewer members left the union.

The union says the coalition government’s austerity programme has provided its toughest challenge, with 446 jobs a day being lost in local government and police forces. However, general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Not only have we stood up to this government, but we are growing again.”

The campaign in the union’s South West region was boosted by the withdrawal of two NHS trusts — Dorset and North Devon — from the controversial NHS pay cartel in the region. The cartel is threatening to disregard the Agenda for Change national agreement. The union’s national officer for health, Sian Rabi-Laleh, said the decision was “proof of the union’s effectiveness in representing members.”

She said recruiting hospital staff working for the remaining cartel trusts, who continue to face threats of worse pay and conditions, was now a priority.