Peter Kavanagh, Unite London & Eastern regional secretary, outlines the reorganisation of regional branches
The London and Eastern region has concluded the main aspects of our branch reorganisation. To say this was a huge task, in Unite’s biggest region, is something of an understatement!
Our aim has been to build a truly Unite branch structure, with its principle focus being strong workplace and sector organisation. Over 150 of our branches were what we termed ‘composites’, ‘warehousing’ members from any or every industry and sector. Too many members were recorded as ‘employer or workplace unknown’. We were unable, as a result, to have any working knowledge of who these members were or respond to their specific needs.
We have now set up a new structure, where all members are being placed in one of the following:
- Workplace branch
- Sector branch (e.g. aerospace, health or local government)
- Sub sector branch (e.g. housing workers within Community Youth and Not for Profit, or cleaners branch within the Services and General Industries sector)
- Employer branch (multi site within one employer)
- Retired members’ branch
We have closed the ‘composites’ and transferred over 95,000 members into our new and existing branches as part of this enormous “mapping” of our region. Inaugural branch meetings are being held over the coming weeks for our new branches.
We believe that these branches will link members far more effectively into the region’s constitutional committees. We very much want to encourage those activists from the closed branches to continue their activism within the new structures.
This radical shakeup, which was never attempted on this scale by our legacy unions (MSF, AEU, T&G, GPMU, Amicus, UNIFI to name but a few!) at the point of previous mergers, was viewed as essential by the region’s lay leadership to take forward our organising agenda.
Download the full briefing: June 2013 update on London & Eastern’s branch reorganisation