Organising in Ireland
Last week I spoke about the organising challenge in the UK to the Biennial conference of Mandate, the union for bar and retail workers in Ireland. Its the second event I’ve spoken at in Ireland during the last few weeks. The first was an event hosted by the NCI looking at prospects for union growth in Ireland. You can read papers and download presentations from the conference here.
Mandate have recently adopted an ambitious organising programme, and have spent time in the UK talking to the TUC and unions such as USDAW about their organising work. USDAW has grown by some 60,000 new members since 2000, in part due to the 110 activists who have gone through the USDAW Academy. USDAW’s Academy was inspired in part by the work of the TUC Organising Academy – which by happy coincidence is now recruiting its 11th intake of new Academy Organisers. You can find more about the recruitment process for the Organising Academy here.
Many of the challenges facing unions in Ireland are similar those we face in the UK – turning round declining union density; finding ways to get more members active in the life of the union; and reaching out more effectively to newly arrived migrant workers – so its good to get the opportunity to share ideas and experience with colleagues. The only downside is that I’ve spent a few hours than I would have liked hanging round Dublin airport because I refuse to fly RyanAir (I’m not providing a link), which have flights to Liverpool pretty much sown up!