Man and woman talking

Growing a stronger union

Five tips to recruit new members. 

All NEU members have an important role to play in growing the union. Recruitment doesn’t just happen at teacher training or student recruitment events, it also happens every day in the workplace.

The growth of school-based routes into teaching, such as School Direct, Teach First, and teaching apprenticeships, mean that about half of new teachers will never have had the opportunity to join a union at a university recruitment day. Many of them will be unaware of what a union is, why they should join, or how to join.

So it’s more important than ever that all NEU members are talking to colleagues who aren’t union members about joining the union. There’s no great secret to recruiting more members in your workplace. The key is making sure that the union is as visible as possible.

Here are five tips to help you get started

Keep an eye out for new staff

Introduce yourself and ask if they’re a union member. The most common reason for workers not joining a union is that they were never asked so seize any opportunity to chat to potential new members: in the staff room, after a staff meeting, at staff training events. 

Make the union visible in your school

Put NEU posters on noticeboards and leave copies of Educate, membership forms, and other union materials in the staff room.

Have plenty of membership forms available

You can order more forms and other materials

Find out about the different categories of membership before you talk to new staff about joining

Check the various rates available. For instance, ECTs only pay £1 for their first year of membership. Remember, apprentices can join the union too.

Don’t assume that long-serving members of staff will already be in a union

They may never have joined or they may have lapsed and just need a bit of encouragement to rejoin.

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