Workplace Report July 2023

Recruitment and organisation news

Membership drives pay off

Membership has surged in GMB’s branch representing staff working for MPs in parliament, its chair has told the PoliticsHome website.

Jenny Symmons said membership had grown from just a few dozen when it relaunched in early 2020 to several hundred now, including some Tory staffers.

She believes the surge has been driven by a poor response to complaints about working conditions from both parliamentary authorities and political parties, particularly in dealing with complaints of bullying and sexual harassment.

Meanwhile the BFAWU food union has reported a number of successful recruitment drives, including at Greggs sandwich chain. Union reps have recruited 230 new members at Greggs since the beginning of the year by “getting out and about into shops to talk to people”, the union magazine, Foodworker, says.

Meanwhile in Scotland, BFAWU membership has gone from zero to 50 in two months at Mowi, a salmon preparation factory. BFAWU has also recently established a branch for sex workers, which has recruited 99 members in the last two months.

And the CWU communications union reps at Santander’s Bootle offices have brought union density back to the pre-pandemic level of 94%, thanks to a month-long menopause-awareness initiative.

The branch had been concerned that the bank’s switch to a predominantly homeworking model would make it difficult to access new staff recruits. But a pop-up stall set up in the break area drew in visitors, and 21 new members were recruited.