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Join our sessions at Organise 2020

Registration for Organise 2020 events are now open. We’ve got a packed programme of brilliant speakers, stimulating debates and diverse topics. Whether it’s fighting the far right, achieving zero carbon in a fair and just way, or organising for equality, there’s sure to be something to interest you.- Sign up to your preferred events from our session’s calendar below. 

Calendar of events

Thursday 9 July 2020

Morning sessions

11:00-11:45 Plenary: Winning for Working People

11:45-12:45 The state of the unions and the challenges we face

11:45-12:45 Running effective webinars and online events

Afternoon sessions

12:45-13:30 Engaging young workers 

12:45-13:30 Organising activists for media work

13:00-14:00 Union wins during the Covid-19 crisis

13:00-14:00 Organising in Trade Union Education

14:00-15:00 Getting creative and innovative with the Health & Safety agenda

14:00-15:00 Successful peer to peer digital campaigns

15:00-17:00 Plenary: Organising against the far right & challenging racism internationally

Friday 10 July 2020

Morning sessions

10:00-11:00 Plenary session: Building stronger unions around the globe

11:00-12:00 Online organising - lessons from Australia

Afternoon sessions

12:00-13:00 The future of unions reps education

12:00-13:00 Online organising: lessons from the wider movement

13:00-14:00 Organising on the Climate Crisis and Just Transition

13:00-14:00 Unions in an age of digital disruptors

14:00-15:00 Spotlight on women organisers

15:00-16:00 Building International Solidarity: Organising in the most dangerous places for workers in the world

15:00-16:00 Building leadership with conference calls

16:00-17:00 Organising on Mental Health: from Resilience to Resistance 

16:00-17:00 Creating a culture of innovation at any level

17:00-18:30 Amazon - global union organising within a multinational company

Saturday 11 July 2020

Morning sessions

10:00-11:00 Using online petitions to engage and organise workers

11.00-12:00 Women, health & safety, and organising

Afternoon sessions

13:00-14:00 Winning together: Lessons from a joint union organising campaign

13:00-14:00 How can we find the next generation of activists?

14:00-15:00 Making our digital mobilisation more effective

14:00-15:00 Tackling far right ideology

15:00-16:00 Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival – 16-18 July

Detailed listings

Thursday 9 July 2020 

Plenary session: Winning for Working People - Thursday 9 July 11.00 - 11.45

Strong unions are good for workers, the organisations they work for, and our society more broadly. In the midst of unprecedented uncertainty, and the threat of a deep recession, we will kick off Organise 2020 with a call for unions to prioritise building membership, diversifying and growing our activist base, and taking trade unionism into every corner of our economy. We will launch the Organise 2020 pledge, signed by leading trade unionists, which will set out what more we can do to grow our movement, win for working people, and to ensure our movement is genuinely representative of all working people.

Chair: Ged Nichols, TUC President

Keynote speakers: Frances O’Grady, TUC general secretary, Paul Nowak, deputy general secretary, TUC, Angela Rayner MP, Labour party deputy leader, Dave Ward, general secretary, CWU + chair of the New Deal Task group

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The state of the unions and the challenges we face - Thursday 9 July 11:45-12:45

Union membership has grown by over 200,00 over the last three years. But less than a quarter of all workers are in a union and there are over 17 million non-members in the private sector. Added to this unions have an ageing membership and activist base.
This session will draw attention to these key strategic challenges and discuss what unions can do to address them.It will include a panel discussion and a Q&A session

Speakers: Carl Roper, national education and organising manager, TUC, Sarah Woolley, general secretary, BFAWU, Mike Clancy, general secretary, Prospect, Roger McKenzie, Unison assistant general secretary (organising and recruitment) 

Running effective webinars and online events - Thursday 11:45-12:45

The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has meant that many of us have had to look at new ways to communicate and train. TUC Education, like many organisations have looked at alternative ways to deliver training to its network of reps. Find out how it’s done and hear from experts on how to deliver flexible and accessible, but most importantly successful online learning.

Speaker: Anna Kalsi, e-learning support officer, TUC Education

Engaging young workers - Thursday 12:45-13:30

The Young Workers Forum is an advisory committee to the TUC General Council.

USDAW organise many younger workers; hear about their best practice engaging young workers and what more we can all do to get them active.

Working with over 300 young non-union workers, the TUC’s WorkSmart project has developed a wealth of learning about how unions might start to engage with workers who have never considered us before. Hear some of the key ways we can adapt our organising campaigns to appeal to a new generation.

Chair: Alex Graham, chair elect, Young Worker’s Forum
Speakers: Dave McCrossen, USDAW deputy general secretary, Clare Coatman (senior campaigner, TUC)

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Organising activists for media work - Thursday 12:45-13:30

The public has higher levels of trust in what unions say when they hear directly from workers. How can unions help workers and reps self-advocate in media work? We'll hear from the New Economy Organisers Network and Sound Delivery about their models for getting the stories and voices of grassroots campaigners and expert citizens into the media.

Speakers: Matt Butcher, NEON spokesperson network, Jude Habib, director, Sound Deliver, Tim Nichols Senior Media Officer, TUC

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Union wins during the Covid-19 crisis - Thursday 13:00 -14:00 

Trade unions have played a fundamental role in protecting workers during the Covid-19 crisis. This session will hear of union successes both here and internationally in winning for workers during the crisis, reaching safeguarding agreements and the strategies used to get there. 
Chair: Tony Burke, assistant general secretary, Unite, 
Speakers: Kate Bell, head of rights, international, social and economics, TUC, Simone Marinelli, FIOM-CGIL rep at Fiat FCA, Keith Jacobs, regional director, UNI Global Africa

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Organising in Trade Union Education  - Thursday 13:00 -14:00 

What role does trade union education play in building stronger workplace unions? Does our current model meet the needs of tomorrow’s workplace reps and organisers? This session will hear from trade union organisers who have integrated education into their organising campaigns, focusing on lessons that we can learn for the future.   

Chair: Sarah Wiktorski, education officer, TUC, Scotland
Speakers: Unions tbc 

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Getting creative and innovative with the Health & Safety agenda - Thursday 14:00-15:00 

H&S campaigns can save lives and can be the gateway to broader workplace organising - especially if they inspire. We’ll be talking through some creative ideas for organising on H&S, getting your campaign in the press and maximising the use of social media to get attention, buy-in, and victories.  

Chair: Shelly Asquith, health and safety officer, TUC
Speakers: Dave Smith, activist and writer; Moe Manir, bus driver and Health & Safety rep, Unite.
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Successful peer to peer digital campaigns - Thursday 14:00-15:00 

Peer to peer digital channels offer us powerful ways to deepen activists’ involvement in the work of the union, letting them contribute to organising campaigns in ways that fit their lives. Hear how union and political campaigns have empowered activists to organise in this seminar with ‘big organising’ experts, the Social Practice.

Digital skillshare with Emma Rees (The Social Practice)
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Plenary session: Organising against the far right and challenging racism internationally - Thursday 15.00 - 17.00

Far right narratives are on the rise and are being mainstreamed as authoritarian Presidents from Trump to Bolsonaro use racism, sexism and anti-migrant narratives to sow division. The coronavirus pandemic has been increasingly used by regimes to crack down on human and union rights. The brutal murder of George Floyd and the subsequent protests around the world has shown the ever-present need to organise internationally against systemic racism and oppression.

This session will explore strategies being used by trade unions and sister organisations to combat the far right in the workplace and communities and confront institutional racism and how we can build international solidarity.

Chair: Patrick Roach. general secretary, NASUWT
Speakers: Chidi King, director of equality, ITUC, Tefere Gebre, executive vice president, AFL-CIO, Carmen Foro, general secretary, CUT Brazil, N H Priya Garnaik, national working committee executive member youth INTUC

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Friday 10 July 2020 

Plenary session: Building stronger unions around the globe - Friday 10 July 10.00 – 11.00

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) represents 200 million workers in 163 countries and territories and has 332 national affiliates. It promotes workers’ and human rights, equality and international solidarity through international cooperation between trade unions, global campaigning and advocacy within the major global institutions.

Sharan Burrow, the ITUC’s first woman leader, comes from an organising background in the NSW Teacher’s Federation and was President of the Australian Education Union. She will share a global perspective on the current crisis and how trade unions are organising to grow the movement and to defend their members around the world.

Keynote speaker: Sharan Burrow, general secretary, ITUC, in conversation. Interview with Ellie Mae O’Hagan, journalist.

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Online organising - lessons from Australia - Friday 11:00-12:00

As Australian unions face challenges that UK unions will recognise, they’ve turned to digital campaigning and organising to fight back. We’ll hear how Australian unions are utilising digital platforms, new technology and social media to organise, win campaigns and build power for Australian workers. 

Speakers: Jess Browning, Hospo Voice, Matt Burke, ACTU tbc
Chair: Anthony Hayes, digital campaigner, TUC
Co-host: John Wood, digital manager, TUC

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The future of unions reps education - Friday 12:00-13:00 

This session will discuss how we can extend the scope and reach of trade union education.  The session will look at the future of classroom courses, the role of online learning, funding and the future of accreditation. 

Chair: Carl Roper, national education and organising manager, TUC
Speakers: Anna Kalsi, TUC education, Tracey Patmore, NOCN, Andy Gilchrist, national education officer, RMT, Sarah Hayes, National Education Officer, Unison

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Online organising: lessons from the wider movement  - Friday 12:00-13:00 

As we think about best practice for union organising, we can look to political and community organising for interesting ideas and examples. Hear about case studies of online organising and consider how we could incorporate good practice into our own work.  

Chair: Clare Coatman, senior campaigner, TUC
Speakers: Joe Todd, former head of communications, Momentum, Sotez Chowdhury campaigning communities manager, Amnesty International, Holly Harrison-Mullane community organiser (trade unions, workplaces and partnerships), Amnesty International

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Organising on the Climate Crisis and Just Transition - Friday 13:00-14:00  

The climate crisis is now urgent. The UK, along with many other countries, have adopted a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. A just transition is necessary to ensure that we do not save the planet at the cost of workers' jobs and communities. 

The Global South, meanwhile, suffers most from global warming, despite having contributed least to the problem. A just transition is needed for workers in both the Global North and the Global South. Climate change is a major trade union issue and, having galvanised young people like few other challenges in recent years, is an important organising opportunity for trade unions in the months and years ahead. 

Chair: Tim Page, senior policy officer TUC, with responsibility for industrial strategy and energy and climate change. Tim represented the TUC at the COP25 UN climate change summit in Madrid in December 2019.

Speakers: Lebogang Mulaisi, labour market policy co-ordinator, Cosatu, South Africa, Sue Ferns senior deputy general secretary, Prospect and the TUC general council lead on energy and climate change, chair of the Trade Union Sustainable Development Advisory Committee, Sam Smith, Director of the Just Transition Centre. Before this, Sam was the global climate and energy leader for WWF.

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Unions in an age of digital disruptors - Friday 13:00-14:00 

Digital start-ups are disrupting companies and institutions worldwide, and unions are no exception. With many new entrants entering our traditional space, what are the threats and opportunities for unions? What can we learn from the disruptors? How do we need to adapt?   

Speakers: Cansu Deniz Bayrak, Bethnal Green Ventures 
Chair: John Wood, digital manager, TUC 

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Spotlight on women organisers - Friday 14:00-15:00  

Session with a focus on women organisers   

Panel, Q&A

Chair: Gail Cartmail, ASG, Unite

Speakers: Vicky Smallman, Director of women and human rights, Canadian Labour Congress, Christina McAnea, assistant general secretary, UNISON, Shavanah Taj, general secretary Wales TUC, Marissa Begonia, Rep, Unite, Lady Phyll, founder of UK Black Pride – via video message

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Building International Solidarity: Organising in the most dangerous places for workers in the world - Friday 15:00-16:00 

In countries around the world, workers face murder, imprisonment and death threats for organising and defending their member’s rights. This session will hear from organisers working in some of the worst countries for workers in the world and explore how we can build international solidarity across borders. Speakers from Colombia, Turkey and Palestine will share their experiences and how they are organising to confront the longstanding abuses of rights and the current crisis.  

Interpretation provided 

Chair: Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary, NEU

Speakers: Osman İşçi, International affairs officer, Confederation of Public Employees Trade Union - KESK, Turkey, Olga Quintero, Leader of ASCAMCAT Catatumbo Agricultural Workers Association (an organisation which has had many leading activists murdered in recent years), and Majd Samaroo, project coordinator, International Transport Federation (Palestine). 

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Building leadership with conference calls - Friday 15:00-16:00 

Conference calls have been a big new tactic in many recent organising campaigns. Done right they can help inspire supporters recruited through online campaigns into taking leadership roles within their union.  

Learn the key parts of an effective online call from the Social Practice’s experience with union and political calls in the US and UK.  Skillshare session. 

Speaker: Emma Rees, The Social Practice
Chair: John Wood, digital manager, TUC

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Organising on Mental Health: from Resilience to Resistance
 - Friday 16:00-17:00 

Mental health is identified by trade union reps as one of the biggest issues in our workplaces. We’ve raised awareness, but now we need action. How do we move away from individualist responses and organise our collective demands for safer, healthier work? 

Panel discussion and launch of the Mental Health Manifesto  

Speakers: Dr Sonia Adesara, doctor and activist, Keep our NHS Public.
Anne Galpin, Co-Chair of Disabled Workers’ Committee and NUJ.
Kendal Bromley-Bewes, Vice Chair of Young Workers’ Committee and Unison.

Chaired by Kathryn Mackridge, TUC

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Creating a culture of innovation at any level - Friday 16:00-17:00 

Unions need to innovate if we’re to meet the organising challenges of the coming decade. Innovation is far more likely to succeed when it’s supported by an organisation, but there are things we can all do to help. 

Join this workshop to learn about creating the conditions for innovation at an individual and organisational level. Discuss how we can all play a part in building a culture of innovation in our unions. 

Speakers: Clare Coatman, senior campaigner, TUC, Heather Ramsay, senior consultant, Good Innovation 

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Amazon - global union organising within a multinational company - Friday 17:00-18:30  

Organising in Amazon is one of the most challenging for unions around the world. This session will hear from key workers on the ground in Spain, the US and here in the UK to share the challenges and successes, as well as tech worker organising around the climate. Recent struggles with Amazon under Covid-19 will be shared as well as a roundup of the global situation.  

Chair: Mick Rix, national officer, GMB
Speakers: Christy Hoffman, general secretary, UNI Global, Fátima Aguado Queipo, CCOO, Spain, Teamsters tbc (USA), Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, tbc 

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Saturday 11 July 2020 

Using online petitions to engage and organise workers - Saturday 11 July 10:00-11:00 

Online petitions are the starting point for many digital campaigns, but they can be very effective in finding and engaging with workers in new industries and workplaces. Learn how to make an effective online petition, with the TUC’s Megaphone service or other platforms, and how to build it into a wider strategy to recruit and organise members.  Skillshare session.

Speakers: Anthony Hayes, digital officer, TUC, Moira Cully, Victoria Trades Hall Council - Megaphone Australia 
Co-host: John Wood, digital manager, TUC

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Women, health & safety, and organising  - Saturday 11 July 11:00-12:00 

Women only make up roughly a third of students on TUC health & safety courses, yet for many modern workplace hazards, it is women facing more of the risks. How can we encourage more women to become health & safety reps? How do we organise around health & safety in the workplace?   

Janet Newsham, Hazards Campaign, Cheryl McLeod, Health & Safety Rep, Unite and President of Lewisham Trades Council, Katrine Williams, Health & Safety Rep, PCS and DWP Group Vice President

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Winning together: Lessons from a joint union organising campaign  - Saturday 11 July 13:00-14:00           

Hear from speakers involved in the organising campaign at ISS.

Chair: Kevin Rowan, head of organising , services and learning, TUC

Speakers: Donna Rowe-Merriman, acting national secretary, Unison, Kate Leslie, branch secretary and organiser, PCS, Mark Berfeld, director, Uniglobal

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How can we find the next generation of activists?  - Saturday 11 July 13:00-14:00 

The trade union movement will lose over half of its current reps in the next 15 years.  We need urgent action to find the next generation of workplace reps. This session will look at the challenges and showcase good practice that we need to turn into common practice.  

Speakers: Luke Elgar, CWU and Emma Forrest NEU.  Also invited, NEU young activist.

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Making our digital mobilisation more effective - Saturday 11 July 14:00-15:00 

Digital tools for mobilisation and organising are getting easier and cheaper to create, but how do you get people to actually use them? Using a design thinking approach is a simple way to ensure many more people take actions with your union.  

Speaker: Sam Jeffers, The Shop, Yasmin Aslam, Forward Action 

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Tackling far right ideology  - Saturday 11 July 14:00-15:00 

Join us for a workshop discussion how best to tackle the mainstreaming of far-right ideology that has become increasingly rampant throughout society. What lessons can we learn and what workplace initiatives are available to win unity in workplaces and in our communities. 

Speakers: Wilf Sullivan, race relations officer, TUC,

Jennifer Moses (head of education and training, NASUWT),

Sarah Wooley (general secretary, BFAWU)

Stiofán Nolan, Trademark Belfast. Trademark has long been at the forefront of providing a trade union-based response to the challenges of racism, sectarianism and the legacy of ‘the Troubles’ in Ireland. Over the past number of years Trademark has identified a trend of far-right elements moving to take advantage of the current moment of economic and political instability and establish a foothold in workplaces and communities across Ireland. 

Richard Detje, journalist and academic with a research focus on trade unions. He is one of the authors of a recent book on right wing populism and trade unions in Germany. 

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Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival  - Saturday 11 July 15:00-16:00 

After all the great discussions on organising, it’s time to look forward to an exciting programme for the Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival.

It is one of the most vibrant, enjoyable celebrations in our movement’s calendar and the online event will live up to being in Dorset.  

It will be the best festival you didn’t attend.

Next weekend - 17-19 July - there will be a fantastic line-up to inspire and entertain. 

Join Nigel Costley, regional secretary, south west region, TUC, and Billy Bragg, singer-song writer, to hear about the exciting line up of speakers, events, entertainment and celebration. 

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