UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Students & unemployed workers no substitute for working members

The Guardian reports that ‘Unite will offer students, single parents and the jobless 50p per week "community memberships"’:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/jul/17/unite-start-reduced-membership

Not a bad idea in itself – associate membership has long been offered by North American unions such as public service union NUPGE to those on the margins of organised workplaces and retirees:

But a note of caution.

Surely UNISON is right to restrict unemployed membership to two years (£4 per annum) and student membership to members undertaking course leading to employment in public services (£10 per annum)?

Effective unions must be rooted in workplaces and whilst there is no question that community alliances and community organising are of critical importance to building union influence they are not and never will be a substitute for strong workplace organisation.