Saturday, 20 September 2008

A Guide to Union Blogging


As those of you who visit this blog will know,I readily encourage activists to share information via these forums and I also encourage you to create your own blog.

To help you now get a sense of what's out there and how best to approach blogging the network for union blogging TIGMOO ( have produced a really helpful guide which you can download free from the site.

The approach to using electronic forums is one of the more interesting ways in which we can seek to stabilise and rejuvenate the movement. Please have a look at an earlier post about the India-based e-union to get a sense of what I mean.

Can I also ask you to have a look at and contribute to the blog that TIGMOO listed as the number 1 union blog in the UK Ian's Red Blog. There is a link to this from the links section of the blog.

Any questions or comments are welcome.




Peter said...

Hello Ian,

I would like to suggest that the blogging approach has its value in organising workers and sharing information, but I can't see it as the be all and end all.

I am not sure that this is what you are proposing but my concern would be if too much time and resources were sent down this route as opposed to traditional face-to-face methods of building our organisations.

What about those countries where internet access is low or non-existent. What about literacy issues. What if the state monitors internet and e-mail use?

Peter Chigana

Craig said...


Sorry to cause a problem with your blogging but this donesn't make sense.

I can't see how this will work.

You can't properly recruit someone in my workplace (a bakery)if you don't get them to sign a form in person.

You cant represent someone unless you do it in person - how does this internet b****cks that you like work in the real world?

I know that in the BFAWU you are involved with different computer projects with the GFTU but it seems to me that we will always need real people doing the real work that keeps unions going.

Sorry to sound down but I cant see it myself.

See you at the advanced course in Bedford - are you coming along?


Ian Manborde said...

Hi Craig,

Thanks for your reply and I'm glad to see that, despite your migsvigings regarding the web, you are joining in the blogging set!

I can't fault what you have said given the position that you are in. When we met last I was really blown away with what your branch was doing at Warburtons and you're right - this needs a face-to-face approach.

Let me clarify though. The web is not the only way forward; it is a case of doing whatever we can to organise.

Carry on doing what works Craig and please keep commenting on the posts that appear her.

If you are attending the GFTU's advanced course in November it'll be good to meet again - otherwise hope to see you again soon.



John said...

Thanks for kicking this off Ian (and for the plug for the guide).

Peter and Craig certainly have a point to a degree in that if they have a workplace where everyone sees everyone and they're able to get high density without a new approach, then frankly, more power to them.

For new workplaces (the huge swathes of some industrial sectors where unions have never been heard of) though, and crucially to new generations of workers however, we will need to keep an open mind. People (sadly) much younger than us are entirely comfortable living their personal and professional lives online now. For example, the TUC online community for reps has not just seasoned reps who want to network, but increasingly young first time reps (who may only have joined their first union recently), for whom an online social network is actually the most natural way to express themselves and seek support.

Since Connect switched to online membership processing as well as forms, they've been signing up hundreds of new people that their reps never got around to seeing in huge workplaces. Couple that with support and co-ordination that reaches out where there isn't yet a rep, and this could be very powerful to a union.

Yes - it's very true you can always sink too much money into new tech projects that don't work, but done right, most of this can cost comparatively small amounts, and in any case, I'd always be up for a flutter if there's a serious chance that not trying could leave us fatally out of touch with our potential members in 5 years.

And on Craig's point about how the internet can't help you represent - This is a bit like saying you can't get to a meeting without driving a car. Yes - but if you've never been there before and you checked the route and traffic online first, you'd get there better. Look again at to see how this works for representation, where reps who are able to learn from each others' experiences online (in a way they would never have the chance to offline) can go into meetings much more confident of their position and how to react to what they could find.

jester said...
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