Labour Research October 2004

Features: Union News

Organising is "top priority this year"

Recruitment moved up the union movement's list of priorities last month when the annual Trades Union Congress unanimously adopted a resolution asserting that "building membership and organisation is the most urgent priority for the coming year" - particularly in the private sector.

The motion brought onto the platform many union big guns, including the general secretaries of the T&G and GMB general unions and of the USDAW shop union, indicating the urgency of the issue.

The motion noted that only 36% of the workforce is covered by collective bargaining. T&G general secretary Tony Woodley, moving the motion, described it as "a wake-up call." He called on unions to focus their resources on organising - and the TUC to focus its resources on supporting them. "We must organise or die," he said.

Delegates also adopted a resolution put forward by the TUC Black Workers' Conference calling on the TUC general council to develop a "detailed strategy for organising black workers ... and increasing participation in the trade union structures".