On a roll at EE

Telecoms & Financial Services, EE

Hundreds of new members have been signed up in EE as a result of the latest round of ‘Access Days’ that took place last month (September) – an initiative that doubled up as the biggest data gathering exercise yet mounted by the union in EE.

Even more important than the new membership influx, the initiative – which saw CWU activists and organisers set up shop in canteens or other suitably busy locations at EE sites in Doxford, Greenock, Plymouth, North Tyneside and Darlington – has resulted in many more members and non-members alike adding their names to the CWU’s mailing list.

“Rather than concentrating on recruitment per-se, the main purpose of the latest Access Days was to engage with every single person who came past, and to try to get the ability to contact them afterwards,” explains CWU assistant secretary John East.

“Given that many of those we are trying to recruit in EE have never previously been a member of a union, we handed out thousands of copies of a leaflet which clearly explained what trade unions do, the benefits of securing the full negotiating rights that stem from being officially recognised by the employer and, crucially, how independent unions provide protections for workers that employee forums simply don’t offer.

“The key message, of course, is that the latter are first and foremost a mechanism for management to engage with staff on entirely its own terms – and not a body that actively negotiates on behalf of employees. Early indications from feedback we’ve received suggest that message is really starting to get through.”

Over the coming weeks and months all those who have signed up to the CWU’s mailing list of EE employees will receive regular updates on the CWU drive to reach a membership level that merits the lodging of a formal demand for trade union recognition.

John East concludes: “Now that EE is owned by BT we’ve made it clear that we’d like to have secured recognition by the time of next April’s CWU Annual Conference – but ultimately everything depends on whether employees in EE want us to negotiate on their behalf in the same way as we do, extremely effectively, for our members in BT.

“If the answer is ‘yes’ it’s vital those people don’t just join the CWU but that they also convince their work colleagues to do the same.”