Join us as a union
JOIN US AS A UNION
Why do unions join?
Many unions choose to become members of Citizens UK. Not only is it an opportunity to demonstrate a wider commitment to social justice, Community Organising allows for a deeper understanding to be gained around the issues the communities you as a union are representing face. Being a member puts you in alliance with other institutions in your community to create effective partnerships and powerful alliances aimed at winning change.
Becoming a member of Citizens UK can help deepen your own membership base and strengthen your bargaining power. By being in alliance with a broad range of civil society organisations, you can also work with your members on issues beyond their immediate workplace.
Case study: UNISON North West
UNISON, the trade union for public service workers, is the UK’s largest union. UNISON serves more than 1.3 million members through providing advice and representation on employment issues
UNISON’s North West branch is a long-standing member of Greater Manchester Citizens (GMC). Through their involvement with Citizens UK, UNISON North West have discovered many shared interests between unions and Citizens alliances, and how through membership, these can be harnessed to build power and create change.
In 2018, GMC ran a one-day community organising course for UNISON activists. One of the most crucial topics the training deals with is power- what is it, who has it, and how it can be harnessed in the pursuit of social justice.
At the start of the training, UNISON reps attached negative connotations to the concept of power, such as associating it with exploitation, corruption and inequality. However, the training provided a major turning point and allowed them to understand power in a more positive light, whilst seeing it as essential to their mission.
The tools of community organising go hand in hand with the methods modern unions aim to employ to strengthen their branches at work Connor McGurran, UNISON North West Organiser
WE TRAIN UNIONS ON HOW TO BUILD POWER NEEDED FOR CHANGE
Being a member and having access to Community Organising training allows unions and Citizens alliances to recognise their similarities, such as their fundamental belief in the strength of the collective and their appreciation for the diversity of their respective membership. Additionally, the training allows unions to learn more about how the tools of Community Organising can be incorporated to achieve change in ways not previously considered.
Since beginning their membership journey with Citizens UK and actively applying knowledge gained from the training, UNISON North West have been able to go onto form relationships and team up with schools, mosques, churches, synagogues and other community organisations to form a powerful collective towards winning change for their members.
Case study: Salford City UNISON
Salford City UNISON is another branch belonging to UNISON, the UK’s largest trade union, supporting public service workers, and is too a member of Citizens UK.
A defining moment in their membership journey is their involvement with Citizens UK’s Living Wage for Social Care campaign. In 2021, Greater Manchester Citizens and Salford City UNISON combined forces and won a £19 million pay rise in wages for care workers at Anchor Hanover Care Home in Salford, the largest provider of specialist housing and care for older people in England.
The campaign began with the announcement of Salford city council becoming the first Living Wage city, whilst further promising extra funding to guarantee local care workers a pay rise. However, despite it not costing them anything, Anchor Hanover did not take up this offer.
WE SUPPORT UNIONS TOWARDS BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS AND STRENGTHENING THEIR INSTITUTIONS
In order to ensure these care workers received a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work, a people-powered action was organised outside the care home. Salford City UNISON came together with Greater Manchester Citizens and their other member institutions such as mosques, churches and foodbanks, alongside attendance from the local MP, care workers and councillors, to demand a Real Living Wage for these care workers.
And they won!
This win secured a huge uplift in pay and resulted in £19 million being put back into the pockets of hard-working care workers.
This win acts as a great example whereby one of the benefits of being a Citizens UK member is that organisations can build relationships through their mutual membership, which can lead to bigger opportunities and further support- resulting in powerful wins!