Socialist Worker

Unite conference discusses organising unions

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2204

Delegates at Unite conference this week took part in an extended debate on how to organise the union.

They discussed a motion that welcomed the union's commitment to 'rebuilding shop floor trade unionism' and said that there was a need to 'systematically increase the numbers of organisers' employed by the union.

It called upon the union to improve its information to encourage members to become more involved in the union's work and to 'reinvigorate' its 100 percent campaign – which aims to recruit 100 percent of workers in relevant workplaces into Unite.

Delegates discussed their experiences of organising. Abdul Omer, a London bus worker, said that 'We increased our membership when we were fighting'.

Many spoke of the importance of organising on a rank and file basis and involving the maximum number of members in activity.

Scott Walker from Scotland told delegates that, 'There is nothing to fear from organising. We need to deliver rocket power for our members.'

Richard Allday moved a motion on organising among the rank and file that was remitted. He said, 'We can have the best strategy in the world but if we don't drive it down to the roots it is sterile.'

Many delegates gave passionate accounts of organising on a rank and file basis and urged the union leadership to take measures to encourage this. The composite which was passed called on the union to develop an 'organising toolkit' for all workplaces for members to use and to develop accessible training modules to help workplace reps.

It called on the union to 'seek better rights to time off for organising purposes' and stressed that 'organising is the agenda of every committed trade unionist.'

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