Public service trade unions in Moldova and the Czech Republic have benefited from EPSU support for two recent seminars on recruitment and organising.
Thirty participants from three EPSU affiliates took part in a two-day training session in Chisinau in Moldova on 2-3 October. The three unions – Sanatatea (health), Sindasp (public administration) and Sindindcomservice (public services) – had all taken part in a joint EPSU-European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) seminar in Bucharest in November 2017 and requested further training for more of their activists. The three unions report relatively healthy levels of union density ranging from 40%-50% in local administration to over 80% in some parts of the health service. However, they are acutely aware that they need to take action now to strengthen their activities in recruiting and retaining members.
The seminar was lead by Greg Thomson, former head of strategic organising at the UNISON public services union in the UK. Beginning with a discussion about the need for unions to have a strategy on recruitment and organising, participants then divided into working groups to develop ideas for specific recruitment campaigns.
On the second day participants practised one-to-one recruitment, running through the kinds of arguments people often come up with for not joining the union and putting together counter-arguments. The end of the second day included debates on the recruitment of young workers and the different strategies and tactics required for recruiting in the private sector.
Two weeks later, on 15-16 October, EPSU supported another training seminar this time in Prague in the Czech Republic where the meeting was run by Adam Rogalewski. Adam is an experienced union organiser who has worked in Poland, the UK and Switzerland and who will be working with EPSU over the next 12 months.
Fourteen activists from the OSZSP health union, including nurses and emergency service workers, took part in the meeting which covered recruitment campaign planning, workplace mapping and one-to-one recruitment techniques.
OSZSP has taken part in previous EPSU meetings on recruitment and organising, beginning with a joint EPSU-ETUI seminar in February 2016 and followed up with a meeting in November 2017 to review progress on recruitment and organising among affiliates in Hungary, Serbia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Further EPSU support for recruitment and organising work is being planned. A meeting for three affiliates from Hungary is foreseen for the end of this year or early next year while another collaboration with ETUI is schedule to take place in Belgium at the end of January 2019.