From the TUC

Tomorrow’s unions: attracting and developing future members

12 Sep 2008, By

The following article was written by year 11 student Eleni Astrinakis, who has been on work-placement with the TUC during the last two weeks.

On Monday 8th September I attended a Unions 21 fringe meeting called ‘Tomorrow’s unions: attracting and developing future members.’

There were many speakers including: Wes Streeting, President,National Union of Students; Simon Sapper, Assistant Secretary, CWU, Charlie Sloan, RCN and Grainne McCay, the NASUWT’s young activist of the year!

They were discussing where the activists and members will come from in the future? Each speaker at this fringe described how their union reaches out now and how they are going to try and reach out in the future. They were talking about how students can be the answer to this problem, if they are reached  in the right way. Also they pointed out that a union could have lots of members but without activists they are lost!

They also talked about how they could really support young workers and students. They were talking about how the young members need to feel that they are being supported in every possible way. The RCN gives their new members a memory stick with important numbers and information.

So overall in this fringe they debated different ways for unions to get in touch with their young members and how they will try to reach them in the future.

While I understand that this was a fringe for people in the movement and people who use ‘trade union language’, but if unions want to attract new young members they will have to change their language because it was a bit boring for a young person! But I was glad to have the experience of hearing this type of debate.  Trade unions should try and connect with young people by finding out their interests and how young people communicate with each other.