What Frequently Asked Questions can you expect surrounding your Annual General Meeting and how to answer them
Q. How did you start planning for your AGMs this year?
A. I drew up a plan for holding workplace AGMs across our branch well in advance, so as to give office managers plenty of notice. As our branch is dispersed across a few offices quite a distance apart in this region, it makes sense to have several meetings rather than one big one.
An important part of the plan was to make sure we held them at times when the majority of members would be able to attend (we have a lot of part time staff).
Q. What was attendance like?
A. Attendance varied from office to office. In some nobody turned up while in others we had almost a 100 per cent turn-out. On average I’d guess that the turn-out was around 50-60%.
Q. What factors affected attendance?
A. It was definitely better in those offices with the most pro-active reps where members had been informed face-to-face about the AGMs and where reps had also gone back to remind them that they were about to take place.
Q. Were there any positive outcomes from meetings that were not so well attended?
A. At one AGM only one member turned up, but she agreed to become a contact point for that office and to distribute union literature. She recognised that this would improve communications and members would be better informed of what was happening in the union.
Q. Did you recruit any more reps through your AGMs?
A. Yes. We managed to recruit several new union learning reps and health and safety reps across
the branch. People were keen to get involved once they understood what the roles entailed and how they could play a key part in their union. We took along copies of the “MA01 How To....Branch Representative Roles” fact sheet to help explain.
In another office, due to be closed soon, we have several members working on fixed-term appointments and one young woman in particular was keen to get involved. Hopefully she will secure full-time employment at a CSA office opening in the area and will go on to become a rep. In the meantime I’ve introduced her to the regional young members’ network so she can meet and learn from other young activists.
Q. What was the most positive outcome of your workplace AGMs?
A. The most positive outcome from the whole experience is that we now have more members taking an active role in the union than we had prior to the AGMs. I’m proud of what we, as a branch, have achieved so far.
Q. On a personal level, what did you gain from the experience?
A. That it’s important to lead by example and convey passion and enthusiasm for the union and the part we all play within it. I tried to do this by describing our many successes and the difference we can make to people’s lives. All in all, we have had a great set of results from using AGMs to increase activity.
Q. Did you pick up any tips for things to ‘avoid’ in future?
A. Yes, that timing is very important, not just in the planning but also in terms of the meeting itself. We held our first one in the school half-term in February which meant a lot of part-time or term-time worker members couldn’t have made it.
We also held one on a Friday, and found that it was poorly attended because there were quite a few members who worked from home on Fridays. And we realised that next year we need to hold one in the early evening, as there is a late shift in a couple of our offices.