And our survey said...

3 December 2007

A full copy of the results of the PCS activists' survey, compiled and analysed by a professor of industrial relations at Middlesex university, is available to download.

PCS has a higher-than-average level of activity and a healthy engagement in solidarity actions for and from other unions and campaigners, a survey shows.

The research results also show how reps feel about our union's priorities and will be useful for activists and reps when talking to members and potential members about getting more involved.

Unsurprisingly, the main functions of a union were seen as improving pay and conditions at work, and defending members against employers and managers.

However, the survey delves deeper into the role of unions in modern society and how they are forging alliances with non-workplace or labour movement organisations to campaign for social change.

The responses to a questionnaire compiled by Martin Upchurch, professor of international employment relations at Middlesex University, and distributed with some copies of Activate in February, were analysed against other research into union membership and activity.

Professor Upchurch has made his report available to PCS as part of a wider project to 'examine emerging new strategic orientations and identities of trade unions in the UK'. He says unions have found it necessary in recent years to develop alternative strategies to recover their power, namely their membership, and cannot do this without activists' involvement.

Key points: summary of main findings

  • The number of disputes we reported appeared significantly higher than for other unions
  • About three-quarters of respondents supported partnership working with employers, but a quarter supported a militant stance
  • Outside of pay and conditions, bullying and harassmentwas the highest placed negotiating issue
  • There was support for political engagement, but the majority did not trust political parties to protect our interests
  • There was a healthy engagement in solidarity actions to and from other unions, campaign and political organisations
  • More traditional forms of campaigning, such as letter writing and lobbying MPs were still very prevalent
  • Most English respondents expressed political sympathy for Labour, but reps had a poor view of New Labour
  • The use of email had significantly increased and appeared more used in PCS than other unions
  • The proportion of reps with high level qualifications was significantly higher than that for reps for all unions.

The full report is available to download as a PDF document:

  PCS activists' survey

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