aegis-the-union

GS Report August 2021

Brian is on holiday this week, so he’s asked me to do the update in his place. I thought it would a good opportunity to let you know what I’ve been up to recently.

A couple of months ago I signed up for a training course run by the TUC’s Digital Lab. It was 3 modules each lasting 2 hours with prep work in between. The first module started with a slide showing the ‘disruptors’ in our market which really opened my eyes. We tend to think of the trade union movement as unique and that competition for members is between the different unions when in fact it’s much wider. Organisations are popping up all over the place providing the sorts of services we offer to workers. They tend to focus on one part of our service, whether it be access to workplace advice and support or organising and campaigning tools. Many of them are private companies with no collective ethos behind them but they have many hundreds of thousands of workers subscribing to them. It really brought it home to me how much the TU movement has to do to remain relevant in a society that is becoming more and more individualistic. It was also a great start to the course as we all quickly grasped the pressing need for our movement to adapt and modernise.

We all had to design a project that we wanted to work on. I chose a project based on our strategy to expand our general branch to recruit new groups of workers in non-unionised finance sector companies. When the course ended, I spoke to the head of the TUC’s Digital Lab about the possibility of Aegis working with his team on this project as a pilot and I’m pleased to say that this pilot is going ahead. It promises to be an exciting collaboration which aligns with our strategy and allows us to tap into external skills and resources that we can learn and hopefully grow from.

To follow up on this we’ve put in a motion to the TUC Conference this year which calls on the TUC to address the challenge of the lack young workers in unions in the private sector by:

  • Organising a concentrated, focused, digital marketing campaign specifically aimed at 16- to 24-year-olds in the private sector

  • Providing a dedicated budget and resource to support and work with affiliates to help achieve increased membership in the private sector.

I’ve spent this morning writing a motion for the STUC Women’s Conference which also aligns to this strategy. It calls for the STUC to work with affiliates in the finance sector on an education and marketing campaign specifically aimed at young women workers in our sector - to raise their awareness of trade unions, encourage them to join a union and to help them build the next generation of activists to protect and promote their workplace rights collectively.

So, we’ll hopefully have a lot of support and resources available to help us grow the union.

As some of you know I’ve been a member of the STUC Women’s Committee for many years now. At our conference in October this year I will have the honour of being appointed Chair of the Committee. I am very proud to follow in the footsteps of so many Scottish Women Trade Unionists since it was formed in 1927, although I believe in the first few years the committee was chaired by a man! It is also a first for Aegis to be in the chair of an STUC Committee, so hopefully it will increase our external profile as a union. I am very excited but also a bit daunted at the prospect. It can be quite a high-profile role as the chair represents the committee at many events across the UK during their time in the chair. Additionally, at the end of my year I will chair the Women’s Conference in 2022, so I hope as many of you as possible will be able to come along to support me in the Rothes Halls.

Recently I have also been heavily involved in the Alliance for Finance (AFF), a lobbying group of trade unions and staff associations in the finance sector. After a very quiet few months when the pandemic kicked in, we revitalised the AFF at the beginning of the year and have held a couple of seminars which were very well received. The first one was on the Future World of Work and we held one last week on Inclusion and Diversity in Financial Services which many of our reps attended. We were pleased that Ellen Edenrow the I&D Manager at YBS was one of the speakers and she gave a really clear and passionate overview of the work she’s doing in this area at YBS. The next seminar is on 21 September and is looking at the impact of Brexit on our sector so please keep an eye out for some flyers nearer the time if you’d like to attend.

Anyway, that’s just a wee flavour of some of the things I’ve been involved in on top of my BAU stuff. It’s been nice to share it with you all and if anyone has questions or wants to know more about anything I’ve covered then please just drop me an email at Fiona.steele@aegistheunion.co.uk

 

Kind regards

Fiona

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“I am the time people don’t have in helping them get back into development!”

Gemma CoxenCommercial Lending Administration Manager