In the latest UnionDues podcast episode, I chat with Becky Wright, Executive Director of Unions21.
U21, Becky says, is a “think and do” tank and we quickly see what that means as she details how they have “pivoted” to deliver services and support on-line during the pandemic. But the U21 USP* is in providing a safe space for unions to collectively look at what is working and what has proved unsuccessful when it comes to member engagement, governance, leadership and organising.
No surprise then to hear Becky outline new projects that are both innovative and inclusive, particularly joint work with the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (or SPERI for short) on what unions can take away from the Covid challenge. Experiences and illustrations of good practice are being sought under the headings of representation, engagement, democracy and advocacy. More details at www.unions21.org.uk and submissions should be emailed to Becky at firstname.lastname@example.org
Shout outs to the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the Irish Financial Services union who are already on board with many of the issues, the latter’s “Right to disconnect” campaign in particular.
Blogs and brightness
We also delve into the Unions21 blog library to pull out some appealing papers – like why new members are an untapped organising resource, what is strategic corporate research and why you should use it, why member engagement can’t work in isolation – and nor can a digital strategy. These papers give a perspective not easily found, and it would be time well spent to give them a quick read.
Unionlearn funding bombshell
Out and about, the union news agenda remain vibrant and busy. But the challenges are stark indeed, as an apparent decision by government to scrap funding of the annual £11m grant to Unionlearn makes clear. We review what’s at stake and why such a move just makes no sense.
We also give shout outs to a new album-and-book set from the GFTU celebrating those who worked on the Thames (and thanks to Paul Day for the tip off), the Labour Research Department’s much needed and hugely useful guide to redundancy law, complemented by Nerys Owens webinar q-and-a session, and fellow labour movement podcasters in the Labor Radio Podcast Network – a portal through which over 70 shows can be accessed.
Next time, we speak with Christina Colclough, a globally recognised expert on worker voice in jobs of the future, about what employment rights are needed (and threatened) in a digital economy – covid or not covid. Don’t miss it.
Download, stream, share, comment, rate – but above all enjoy.
You can access the latest and all episodes here.
Stay safe everyone.
*unique selling point