Friday, 18 December 2009

International Migration Day


Another year of challenges and successes for the global labour movement - and what a year ahead what with the UK's general election, the backlash over whatever comes out of Copenhagen, the start of the withdrawal from Afghanistan etc etc.

But before I call it a day and shut up shop for Christmas, can I give a plug for the ITUC's International Migration Day.

Further details of the event can be seen at:

Quite rightly the ITUC has put its day of action in the following context:

Within the framework of the international protection mechanisms provided by the UN and in particular the ILO, migrants should be able to exercise in full their rights to freedom of association and trade union organisation, of which they are too often deprived. They should also be entitled to an adequate social welfare system and more ethical recruitment procedures.

Sadly however the UK experience alone tends to portray a wholly different picture of the migrant experience.

And so, next year I look forward to working as project manager for the GFTU with several partners on a project designed to protect vulnerable workers, and in particular migrant workers, from workplace and social exploitation.

I'll use the blog to launch the project and provide periodic insights to progress/action etc.

In the meantime can I wish you all a very happy, peaceful and solidaristic holiday and the very best for a challenging, inspiring 2010!



Friday, 4 December 2009

The Union Advantage


Yesterday the TUC launched a handy new publication which I can see being useful to reps in their recruitment activity.

The Union Advantage is a contemporary review of all of the benefits that accrue from trade union membership particularly as it relates to pay and health and safety matters. Although these two have been traditional features of recruitment campaigns we can now, for example, add learning and skills matters to the list.

The report can be downloaded at:

Running alongside the new report is a leaflet, Want Better Pay, Conditions and Benefits at Work? which reps should be using alongside any material from their own union - although some unions prefer to use their own material.

The TUC press release doesn't say where you can get the new leaflets from but if you e-mail me I'll try and find out.

What I am particularly interested in is whether you feel you can add to the TUC's report from your own experience of the value of trade union membership.

I've used that term over the years particularly with new reps when I've asked them to consider what the average member thinks as they look at their wage slip and asks, looking at the deducation for union subs, 'what did I get for that'?

Unless reps can provide a clear, strong impression of what members do in fact get out of membership they can easily find themselves on the backfoot and having to argue hard to recruit new workers and retain exisitng members.

So, what do you say is the value of trade union membership?

All and any comments welcome.