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Address: UNISON Mabledon Place, 1 Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9AJ. Tel +44 (0) 207 388 2366. Main trades and industries: local government, health care, the water, gas and electricity industries, further and higher education, transport, voluntary sector, housing associations.

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      03.03.2001 19:52
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      I am the Personnel Officer for a large Scottish charity and we recognise Unison officially. However, the union doesn't appear to be much interested in the voluntary sector from what I've seen in the last two years. It has been unable to organise shop stewards for over a year and has failed to attend our Joint Negotiating Committee for over two years. The voluntary sector is usually positive in its attitude towards unions and we have offered our facilities for Unison reps to come and talk to our staff but it has yet to take up this offer. When a member of staff recently phoned its Edinburgh branch to talk about joining, it referred her back to me! We are now in the process of setting up a staff committee instead and Unison has been quite happy to let this go through. To be fair, it has attended various committees we have had over the last few months because we are restructuring. It is also fine in representing staff on individual matters - for example, disciplinary, grievance - but Unison has suffered from staff shortages and I found it very annoying that I had to re-schedule meeting dates because union reps were unavailable to attend. A union subscription can cost quite a lot each year to an individual member. In my experience, a subscription by voluntary sector staff to Unison might not be worth the money.

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