Unions recruiting more minority workers

Unions are ramping up efforts to recruit minority workers, according to the TUC Equality Audit published this week.

The audit, conducted every two years, looks at trade unions’ internal activities and how they are building equality into their rules and structures, organising activities, membership services and employment practices. This year’s survey was completed by 48 of the TUC’s 55 affiliated unions, representing 97% of TUC members.

The audit shows that more unions are carrying out targeted recruitment campaigns, particularly around age and gender. Between 2007 and 2011, the proportion of recruitment campaigns targeted at young people increased from 29% to 48%. The proportion of unions running campaigns targeted at women has increased from 38% to 48% over the same four-year period.

The majority of unions now have an equality officer at national level, while around one union in four has separate officers for women (27%), black members (27%) and disabled members (25%). One union in five (19%) has an officer for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender members, while a quarter (23%) have a young persons’ officer.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “It’s encouraging that unions are stepping up their recruitment efforts among minority groups, as they are often the most vulnerable to workplace exploitation and job losses.”

In other TUC news, Labour leader Ed Miliband has been heckled today by angry delegates at the TUC conference, where he criticised workers for striking over pension reform while negotiations were going on, calling the action “a mistake”.

Although in his keynote speech Miliband underlined the strength of the link between Labour and the trade unions, he faced hostility over his lack of support for the strike by 300,000 teachers and civil servants in June.

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