Unions embark on major recruitment drive for migrant workers

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date: 10 September 2007

embargo: for immediate release

The TUC 2007 Equality Audit published today (Monday) has highlighted a major recruitment drive for migrant workers across the trade union movement, reflecting unions' rapid response to the changing make-up of the labour market.

The latest audit also reveals progress in boosting the representation of minority groups at steward and branch officer level. While the number of unions taking action to recruit members from women, black and Asian, disabled, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, as well as young groups has declined since 2003, there has been greater action to recruit stewards and branch officers from these groups. Over a third of unions are seeking to recruit female and black and Asian stewards.

Further findings from the 2007 Equality Audit include:

- 62% of unions have national rules on equality

- 56% of unions have equality officers at national level

- 59% of unions now have a national body/committee for equality issues .

Unions have once again demonstrated their commitment to equality for their own staff. Around 40% of unions have recently conducted pay reviews, a slightly higher proportion than in 2003. Two thirds (67%) of unions report that flexible working is available to all staff, while other unions said that they were open to individual requests for different work patterns.

Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary said: 'The comprehensiveness of the 2007 Equality Audit - the response rate covered 99.7% of the TUC's 6.5 million members - illustrates the strong commitment of trade unions to equality issues.

'The TUC's commission on Vulnerable Employment recently uncovered widespread abuse of migrant workers, so it's encouraging to see that unions are already responding by actively recruiting among migrant groups. Unions provide vital protection for vulnerable workers, and I would encourage more unions to take a proactive stance on this issue.

'While the 2007 Equality Audit shows great progress in many areas, unions must continue to make equality issues a priority. With the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights coming into force later this month, and a Single Equality Act likely to follow in the next parliamentary year, its vital that unions remain vigilant and continue to fight for disadvantaged groups'.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

- The large increase in the number of unions responding to the 2007 Equality Audit means that the findings cannot be directly compared to the 2003 and 2005 audits. The 2007 audit includes responses from unions that have fewer resources to dedicate to equality issues and have not previously responded to the equality questionnaire.

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Contacts:

Media enquiries: Elly Brenchley T: 020 7467 1337; M: 07900 910624;
E: ebrenchley@tuc.org.uk

Liz Chinchen T: 020 7467 1248; M: 07778 158175; E: media@tuc.org.uk

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