Monday, July 18, 2011

Unite reaches out to students and the unemployed.

I think this is excellent news:

Britain's largest trade union, Unite, is launching cut-price memberships for students and the unemployed as it attempts to boost its ranks and counter David Cameron's "big society".
Unite will offer students, single parents and the jobless 50p per week "community memberships" as it focuses on neighbourhoods as well as workplaces. Trade unions are battling falling membership numbers and government spending cuts that will put their finances under further threat by eliminating public sector jobs – their most fertile recruiting ground.
In an interview with the Guardian, the general secretary of Unite, Len McCluskey, also warned that strikes by millions of state employees are "inevitable" this autumn because of government inflexibility over pension reforms, while he criticised Labour party leader Ed Miliband for an "ill-advised" attack on last month's public sector walkouts...

Unite leaders are in a position to know that mergers and other short-cuts to holding back the decline of union density have proven to be ineffective in the long run.  They need to engage in major recruitment campaigns, and inviting students and the unemployed to be trade unionists in defence of their community is a great basis for doing this.  I hope it signals the beginning of a nationwide outreach campaign.