Using a branch meeting to Build the Union

12 April 2015

At the University of West London we are using negotiations over contracts and role profiles to build membership and develop contacts in the schools.

We took advantage of a well attended branch meeting by asking everyone there to take away a membership form and try and recruit one colleague to the union. We spoke at the beginning of the meeting about the importance of strengthening our negotiating position through increased membership and how recruiting one colleague was something positive that each one of them could do to contribute - how the members were the union, not the negotiators or reps at the front of the room.

We stood at the door and handed everyone a membership form as they left. Some people even wanted to take two or three!

We had nine new members join in the week after that meeting which is a huge spike and very important for a branch that has shrunk more than many over the last few years through university cuts.

We also used branch meetings to try and recruit local contacts. We prepared a sign-in sheet to send round and included on it a tick-box for people to say they would like to hear more about being a local contact. We introduced the concept at the start so people knew what we were talking about, and also got the committee to 'sign-in' first and tick the box to get the ball rolling, so to speak. The uptake wasn't high, but we got a couple of people saying they were interested and it is another way of trying to get potential local contacts to come forward.

Laura Flynn
UCU London region

Last updated: 23 January 2018