Unison are holding their annual conference in Liverpool this week. The whole event starts tomorrow with service group sub conferences happening today and yesterday.
Membership of unions has fallen over the last 20 years dramatically. This is because of two major reasons. First the decline has a lot to do with people not getting the service they think they should get when they need help and second competition and rivalry between the major unions. The second reason is in my opinion a fundamental one and one that can be dealt with.
As a Branch Secretary for many years of a large union outfit in South London I always found it ridiculous that different unions would try and compete for the same small number of people who were not members. There were also examples where they would actively try and recruit existing members. This was of course unhelpful and divisive. The way to move forward is for major unions specialising in same work areas to merge. This was done by NUPE, NALGO and Coshe in the mid 90s and it can be done again. Move on or face oblivion is my message!