The Covid-19 crisis has thrown up an unprecedented range of difficulties, that none of us would expect to deal with at any one time.
From redundancies and unsafe working, to social isolation and safety in the home, union reps are supporting members and holding the worst employers to account. At the same time, many of them are working on the frontline to deliver essential services.
Now more than ever, working people need their unions. That means we need to reach into workplaces. At the TUC, we’ve used webinars to engage hundreds of reps every week. And we’ve worked with many of our affiliate unions, including the FDA, the RMT, and Usdaw, to deliver training and support on a huge range of issues.
We’ve found that webinars work best when:
Supporting the FDA
The FDA is one of the largest providers of face-to-face learning in the civil service. But during the coronavirus crisis, they’ve had to rethink their offering to members.
Within two weeks of lockdown being announced, nearly 350 members attended their first webinar.
“Webinars have enabled us to continue offering high quality learning and development opportunities to members during lockdown,” says Amy Leversidge, Assistant General Secretary of the FDA.
“They have helped us to maintain visibility and show our relevance and value to members. We have had excellent feedback, including many unsolicited emails reaching out to tell us how much they have got out of the webinars. All of the courses have evaluated incredibly well. We can’t thank everyone at TUC Education enough for all their help.”
Since then, the FDA have engaged over 4,700 members from across the globe, in Indonesia, Vietnam, the USA, Oman, Hong Kong, and South Africa.
“I love this,” said one FDA member. “Even when we go back to normal, please can we keep this format for personal/human centred training. When we’re back in offices, it would be great to be able to access this in my own time/at my own pace from a library. This was so accessible – even with family life happening around me. Fantastic innovation from the FDA”.
Creating digital community
Today’s challenges aren’t going to go away quickly. But during this difficult period, unions have demonstrated that we can be creative and flexible and find new ways to support reps and members. Though the pandemic has prevented us from connecting in our usual ways, lots of us have felt a sense of community through digital platforms.
Working people will need our support in the tough times ahead. So let’s keep using all the tools we have to connect with workers and win change.
If you’re interested in exploring webinars, our team would love to talk to you and answer any questions. All of our webinars can be found on our channel.
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