Unions 21 is a forum for unions to come together to explore our shared challenges and to look at practical projects and ideas to build tomorrow’s unions. Front and centre in our minds at the moment are the implications for unions in terms of the changing nature of work and the upcoming certification officer levy. It is critical that unions understand the changing environment they find themselves in and the implications for effective resource management.
Firstly, understanding what data we hold and how to use that effectively to make decisions based on data and clear strategic aims rather than lurch from situation to situation. In our upcoming report ‘Using Data to Build Unions’, we have identified the need for unions to become more data driven, sharing information between departments and colleagues to allow unions to clearly define problems and identify potential solutions/pathways which will allow unions to operate effectively. For example, has your union modelled the impact of best/worst/potential impact of the new levy on your finances? What would it need to move to cover the cost and what would be the impact on other aspects of the organisation? Equally, how is the union making decisions on subscription models and increases?
Unions having the capacity, primarily in terms of skills and knowledge as well as potentially the technology (whatever form that takes) to be able to answer these questions may also take resource planning and expenditure.
Another important financial area for colleagues to consider is how the industries and occupations we cover are changing and what this means for membership and collective bargaining coverage. To help unions begin discussions on this, we produced ‘Changing World of Work’, where we identified how industries and occupations were changing, worker attitudes to work and unions and the implications for unions. There would be falls in areas which were traditionally ‘union’ and increased jobs in health and social care (mainly social care), hospitality and outsourced jobs like security. Existing areas in the public sector might see changes to occupations away from a traditional base. Lastly, we know that self employment is here to stay across industries and sectors.
These have real resource implications for unions and will require difficult decisions on projects, emphasis and staff if unions are to continue to grow and be relevant organisations. For more information, head to unions21.org.uk.
Becky Wright, Executive Director
Previous to her post at Unions 21, Becky spent five years as the Director of the TUC’s Organising Academy and was responsible for the development and delivering of the Academy’s training programme for union organisers and officers. In 2001, she joined the TSSA as an Academy Organiser and then went on to take national and regional organising projects for Prospect, NATFHE and ATL. Becky holds a BA(Hons) in Politics, an MRes as well as a Diploma in Education and has also studied Contemporary European Labour Studies at Masters level at the Universiteit van Amsterdam. She also acts as a trainer/consultant for the ETUI, FIA, EFJ, FIM and UNI-MEI