We’ve had great success in recruiting new members to PCS in recent months, which is key to building our union and reversing the impact of Tory cuts and anti-union policies.
One of the reasons behind the rise is that reps in some areas have been able to use staff induction sessions to recruit groups of new members. Read one branch’s tips on how to make it work.
The National Executive Committee (NEC) thanked reps and staff for their efforts, which led to our recruitment rate doubling in the last year.
Keeping up this good work is essential for dealing with the double whammy of job cuts and the removal of check-off.
In 2016, we met our aim of recruiting at a rate of just under 1% a month, and saw higher than average recruitment rates in DWP and HMRC, and across the northern and north-west regions. Other highlights included excellent campaigns at Ofgem and the Home Office Disclosure and Barring Service, where almost 90% of staff are now in PCS.
Recruitment strategies are different in each workplace. Where the employer is taking on new staff, targeting induction days are an ideal opportunity to talk to new employees about the union as soon as they arrive.
One example is DWP’s Fylde branch, which signed up 242 new members at induction events last year. Reps now have a standing arrangement with management that they can have a 20-30 minute slot to talk to new staff at all induction sessions, which are happening every few weeks. They’ve also been dropping in to team meetings to talk to colleagues.
“Be visible, be vocal, be positive”: Read more on DWP Fylde’s induction day recruitment tactics.
“As a union we have the right to take part in staff inductions, but it seems the use of these structured events had fallen off the radar – we weren’t exploiting our agreements to full effect by making sure we had a presence,” said PCS’s north west regional organiser Caroline Turner.
Industrial officer Richard Murphy said that over the last year the branch had identified the importance of approaching recruits on day one of them being in the job.
“It’s absolutely vital. One of the main reasons for people not being in the union is they haven’t been asked. Their system is working well now – it’s a well-oiled machine.”
Bite-sized training, which will give reps tips and the skills to recruit at induction meetings, will be launched in the next few weeks and the training can be delivered in the branch.
Induction meeting tips include:
- Explain that the meeting is agreed by management
- Set out the basics – don’t assume people know what unions do
- Give examples of union successes and current campaigns
- Mention other union benefits like the PCS Credit Union, holiday insurance, shopping cards
- Keep comments concise, and make the meeting interactive - give time for discussion
- Allow time to complete the joining form
- Get everyone’s contact details.