How your branch will benefit from participating in the national recruitment mailshots

It’s a truism that we recruit well when we are actively campaigning on popular issues, but it’s no less true that we have to embed regular systems for encouraging people to join at every level of our union.

In recent blog posts, we’ve highlighted branches who have really taken up that challenge. But that’s also been a fundamental part of the national strategy to build the union.

In September last year, we launched a nationally coordinated campaign to ensure that as many branches as possible obtained and submitted staff lists to enable the national union to support local recruitment and organizing efforts with a series of coordinated national mailshots.

Now, 10 months later, branches covering 70% of UCU’s membership have now participated in the mailshots. The local impact this can have can be seen by looking at Liverpool University UCU’s experience. Liverpool UCU were successful in getting a list to the national campaigns team early and were one of the first branches to participate. Since then, they’ve had two additional messages and each time, membership has gone up as a result. They’ve recruited more than 100 new members since September, more than half of which came through the national mailshots, and their membership has grown significantly. Membership received an extra boost from management’s decision to start attacking academic-related contracts and threatening staff with dismissal. Successfully combining systematic and regular recruitment activity as part of the national strategy, can produce steady and impressive growth, growth which can be sharply accelerated by the actions of a punitive management!

Branches who have managed to get lists from management have also been able to use these for local follow up work. Where the data allows it, the national campaigns team have worked with branches to ‘clean up’ the lists ready for local recruitment work. For example, at Lowestoft and East Riding Colleges, branch officers followed up the national emails with their own localized versions. Cardiff University UCU did a hard copy mailing to follow up on the email messages from the General Secretary, while Loughborough University branch distributed the email lists and recruitment materials to their reps asking them to follow up locally.

What you can do now:

1. If you’ve already sent us a list, contact your management and ask them for fresh starters and leavers data. Once you have your data or if you have any questions, email jstephens@ucu.org.uk

2. If you haven’t yet participated in the national mailshots campaign, email jstephens@ucu.org.uk and find out how you can get involved.

3. Click here to find a list of simple steps you can take to recruit locally. Check out the branch reports section of the website for lots of ideas about how to organise local recruitment work.