Unions celebrate 10th anniversary of TUC Organising Academy

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date: 9 October 2008

embargo: 00.01hrs 14 October 2008

Around 300 union activists, organisers and officers from the UK will be gathering in London today (Tuesday) to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the TUC Organising Academy.

They will be joined at the 'Building Stronger Unions' conference by unionists from around the world to discuss how to organise and represent the next generation of union members.

An analysis of the Academy, commissioned by the TUC, estimates that since its launch in 1998, organisers have recruited around 50,000 new union members and 4,500 new trade union activists during their training. 270 new union organisers have also been trained and recruited.

The Academy has a strong diversity record, with women making up over half of its intake, while more than half of the Academy's graduates were aged under-30 when they started the programme.

Speaking at the conference, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber will say: 'The best protection any worker can have is a union card in their pocket, so it is our moral duty to organise and recruit more members.

'This is particularly important for Britain's two million vulnerable workers, who are trapped in low-paid, insecure work where mistreatment is the norm. And with the impact of the credit crunch threatening to spread across the labour market, the value of union membership is greater than ever.'

To build on the success of the Organising Academy, the TUC has launched a new organising and campaigning initiative for lay reps and stewards. The Activist Academy - launched at TUC Congress 2008 - aims to train 1,000 organisers over the next three years and further boost Britain's army of union organisers. ASLEF, ATL, Community, FBU, NASUWT, NUJ, NUT, PCS, Prospect, TSSA, UCATT and the UCU have all signed up to sponsor Activist Academy so far.

Commenting on the launch of the Activist Academy, Brendan Barber said: 'The Activist Academy gives us an opportunity to engage the 200,000 or so lay reps and stewards who for many members and potential recruits are the 'face of the union'.

'If we are serious about organising new workers, we need to give our reps and stewards the tools needed to take the union message into workplaces.'

NOTES TO EDITORS:

- 'Building Stronger Unions' takes place at TUC headquarters, Congress House, central London between 9am and 4.30pm on Tuesday 14 October. Guest speakers include TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber, TUC Deputy General Secretary Frances O' Grady, UNI General Secretary Phillip Jennings, author of Live Working, Die Fighting Paul Mason, Unite Deputy General Secretary Jack Dromey, NUT Acting General Secretary Christine Blower and various other national and international union speakers. To register for the conference please contact Joanne Adams on 020 7467 1361 or jadams@tuc.org.uk

- An evening reception to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Organising Academy will follow the conference.

- Further information about the conference and reception can be found on the TUC website.

- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk

- Register for the TUC's press extranet: a service exclusive to journalists wanting to access pre-embargo releases and reports from the TUC. Visit www.tuc.org.uk/pressextranet

Contacts:

Media enquiries:
Rob Holdsworth T: 020 7467 1372 M: 07717 531150 E: rholdsworth@tuc.org.uk
Elly Brenchley T: 020 7467 1337 M: 07900 910624 E: ebrenchley@tuc.org.uk

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