The unemployed, students and the retired are among the groups that Unite, the largest union in the country, wishes to mobilise so that they can make improvements in their local community.
Unite has appointed 28-year-old Jack Ferguson to bring together groups not covered by traditional trade union membership, so that they can get involved in campaigns in their area, for example, to save their local library from closure.
Jack Ferguson, Unite community coordinator for Scotland said, “Across Scotland communities feel like they don’t have a voice. Unite community membership is going to help change that. We think it’s time that people who don’t have a job for whatever reason are now going to have access to the benefits of trade union membership.
That means members will have access to all kinds of training and education in order to enhance their skills. But most importantly, it will allow communities to come together and get organised to create positive change. By becoming part of the UK and Ireland’s largest trade union, you’ve got 1.5 million allies in standing up for your rights.
People have already been getting in touch to join. I’m really looking forward to working with communities throughout the country, helping them identify their own campaigning priorities and work to bring them about. It could be something as simple as getting a zebra crossing put in on a busy road, or it could be saving a much loved local library, or supporting vulnerable people in navigating the benefits system.
Ordinary members will decide how community membership develops, and I’m really excited to see what good ideas people have.”
Jack Ferguson originally from Fife, is based in Glasgow and is one of six community co-ordinators appointed by Unite across the UK whose role is to engage with the community at the grassroots and offer new community members the benefits of a trade union for the cost of 50p a week.
Unite Scottish Secretary Pat Rafferty said, “The community membership scheme, launched by Unite, seeks to energetically engage with groups not covered by trade union membership.
We need to mobilise right across communities to improve lives and take a stand against the austerity policies of the coalition which have brought misery to millions of people, not just in Scotland but across the UK.”