TUC engagement with minority communities
University of Bradford research has directly influenced changes in TUC national policy, leading to an increased engagement with - and recruitment of - black and ethnic minority (BME) and migrant workers.
The national and regional Trades Union Congress (TUC) recognised that developing alliances between unions and community groups of all kinds was the key to increased recruitment. Building on an established reputation with the TUC, the researchers undertook various projects to find out how this could be worked towards and achieved. In the first instance, survey findings showed that trades unions were not viewed negatively amongst these communities, thereby opening up the possibility for collaboration and community engagement.
Further research identified and publicised examples of best practice where unions were already working with community groups. The resulting report recommended continued support for anti-fascist groups, community advice centres and community learning centres. A third project, commissioned by Yorkshire and the Humber TUC, aimed to identify the benefits that trades unions were already generating by providing, for example, training or language skills to migrant workers.
The Bradford researchers presented the TUC with five recommendations to effectively engage and build alliances with a diverse workforce, which were disseminated via presentations and collaborations with individual unions. As a direct result, UNITE employed a full-time community co-ordinator based in the Yorkshire and the Humber region and the GMB recruited a part-time officer to implement recommendations throughout this region.
Presentation of the report findings were made to the General Secretary of the TUC which has resulted in the researchers’ recommendations being incorporated into a national policy document, ‘Swords of Justice and Civil Pillars’. This policy is designed to change unions’ approach to engaging with minority ethnic communities and to recognise the skills, qualifications and experience of migrant workers, leading to increased and improved participation.
For more information on this type of research visit Centre for Research in Organisations and Work.
- Dr Robert Perrett