Monday 21 April 2008

Mandate to embark on major organising and recruitment campaign

Mandate trade union today (21 April 2008) announced major changes in their operational structure, with the union changing their operating model from a “servicing” model to an “organising and campaigning” one. It also said that it would be embarking on a major campaign to organise and recruit workers in the non-union retail sector.

As part of this change in the union’s operations, the union’s General Secretary, John Douglas announced:

· That the union has developed a state-of-the-art specialist Organising and Training facility;

· The appointment of a new Assistant General Secretary, Mr Gerry Light;

· The appointment of a National Coordinator of Organising, Campaigning and Recruitment, Mr Brian Forbes;

· The appointment of a National Coordinator of Training, Ms Aileen Morrissey.

Mandate General Secretary, John Douglas said, “We’ve noted over the past number of years that Mandate could never have enough staff to meet the needs and demands of all our members. The transition to an organising model will, over time, strengthen the power of the union acting collectively with members included in all activities.”

Mr Douglas explained that developing an organising model is about finding ways that activists can be more confident in handling day to day workplace issues with less need to call on officials for issues such as minor grievances and disciplinary procedures.

“Essentially what this means is that we will give our members the training and skills necessary to make sure the union is represented in every shop, supermarket and bar across the country. This will allow the union to spend more time and resources organising and recruiting new members in order to make the voice of workers in the retail sector stronger,” added Mr Douglas.

Brian Forbes, Mandate’s new National Coordinator of Organising, Campaigning and Recruitment, explained that as a union with a social conscience, Mandate is not only about looking after our existing members.

“We all have a responsibility to organise the unorganised and spread the message of trade unionism. From a recruitment perspective, Mandate needs to increase its union density to a much higher level if it is to tackle the low wages in the retail sector.”

Mr Forbes said that the challenges facing the union in the retail industry include:

· A relatively young workforce;

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