[2021] Motion 71 Targeting membership in the private sector

Composited motion

Received from:

Congress notes there are currently around 18 million non-unionised workers in the private sector in the UK. Only 10 per cent of workers aged 16–24 in any sector of the UK are in a union.

Around 40 per cent of all current union members are over 50.

We are not recruiting enough young members to replace those members whom we will lose to retirement over the next 10–15 years.

Congress believes if we don’t do something different, the future of trade union membership in the private sector will continue to decline.

The list of issues impacting young workers has never been so grim, so there are significant campaign possibilities:

i. precarious and zero-hour contracts

ii. unsafe working conditions exacerbated by Covid-19

iii. fire and rehire

iv. low levels of pay with little or no benefits

v. bullying and harassment at work.

Serious commitment from the movement to address these challenges has already started.

Last summer, the TUC General Council and the general secretaries of all TUC affiliates signed up to the TUC Organising Pledge.

The pledge commits the movement to addressing six strategic challenges, which is a positive initiation.

However, so much has changed, at pace, since making this commitment and therefore Congress calls on the General Council to go a stage further, which would include:

a. a concentrated, focused, digital marketing campaign specifically aimed at 16- to 24-year-olds in the private sector

b. a dedicated budget and resource to support and work with affiliates to help achieve increased membership in the private sector.