Building the Trade Union Council Movement
While recommending the programme of work for the year ahead, the TUCJCC is fully aware of the severe restraints that anti-trade union legislation puts on unions and trades union councils to defend members rights and jobs, protect the vulnerable at work and in society and to organise by developing activists in the workplace and in the community at large. Trades union councils are asked to: identify ways in which they can support affiliated unions in their national campaigns for the repeal of anti-union laws; and develop campaigns to raise awareness in the local community of the implications of such legislation and to build support in the local community for the removal of all anti-trade union legislation. In building this support for the repeal of anti-union legislation, trade union councils, together with their affiliated unions, will need to build an understanding in the community about the work of the trade union movement.
Working in the community Trades union councils work with local community organisations around a number of campaigns. Trades union councils will be encouraged and, where possible, given suitable support to turn those collaborations into union organising opportunities. Trades union councils need to realise that collaboration is a two way process and that the community and campaign groups they may work with, and contribute to, should also be encouraged to participate in local union and trade union council activities. Trade union councils need to identify organisations they work with and establish a programme with which they can engage those groups. Trades union councils and county associations are ideally placed to assist in organising campaigns or local campaigns to build union awareness, working with affiliated unions at local level to support such campaigns. It is clear that trades union councils should have a pivotal role in the defence of local public services whether provided by the local authority or through the state. Trades union councils are well placed to bring together the users of those services and the workers providing those services in co-ordinated campaigns to protect the living standards of the local community. Working with local union branches, trades union councils should support the Regional TUC campaigns and, where possible, union national campaigns. For example may be making sure that suitable and sufficient campaign material from the national campaigns is available locally. Campaigning work should also include positive messages promoting public services and the benefits they bring to the local economy as well as the welfare of the community and identifying areas where services are needed. Trades union councils have also been active in the work on vulnerable and migrant workers but this is more likely to have been as part of local campaigns rather than as part of a co-ordinated approach to the issue which could be supported by affiliated unions at national level as well as the TUC. County associations, working with regional TUCs, should assist and coordinate the delivery of TUed training and similar resources on the organising agenda to trades union councils in their area. Trades union councils should consider ways in which they engage with community organisations and to assess how local union input into those community groups can be improved. In order to do this trades union councils need to ensure that the message they are portraying is clear and reaches the widest number of people. Trades union councils will need to assess the various methods they use for communicating with the community and with affiliated organisations and consider ways in which they can use new technology and the new media for this work. This may include the development of websites, Facebook groups, blogs, YouTube and various other forms of new media. In addition, there are still a variety of community and radical theatre and artists groups which can tell the story of working people both past and present and could be an outlet for trade union councils as well as councils getting support for these groups from the trade union movement. This year’s trades union councils conference passed a resolution calling for the support of radical and community theatre. The TUCJCC will consider what suitable resources are needed, the ways to supply such resources to the trades union council Movement and to act as overall co-ordinators.
Summary Support national union campaigns and build support in local communities for the repeal of anti-union legislation; Build understanding of the work of unions in the community Develop and support local and regional campaigns to defend public services Promote public services by highlighting the broad range of benefits, both social and economic, that public services bring to the local community Establish a programme of engagement with community groups Use collaborative work with community groups as organising opportunities Develop a broad range of communication tools, e.g. Facebook, blogs, YouTube etc., to deliver the union message in the community