UNISON’s national delegate conference last week approved a rule change that has an immediate impact on the union’s young members.
Delegates agreed to raise the ceiling age for young member status from 26 to 30. This increases the time in which activists can work in a young member capacity and, consequently, the age of those taking the two young members’ seats on the national executive council.
It’s estimated that the move will roughly double the number of the union’s young members.
Josephine Grahl, UNISON’s national officer for young members, commented today: “We hope this change will strengthen UNISON’s young member structures, giving young workers a longer period to join and become active in UNISON young members’ groups, and giving us time to develop young activists who will go on to play a lifelong role in the union.
“This motion came from UNISON’s young members’ conference in December 2022, where it was very strongly supported, and our survey of UNISON members showed that a large majority of members of all ages felt that increasing the age was the right thing to do.”
Ms Grahl added: “The increase in age reflects the changes in the workforce that have happened since UNISON’s first young members’ groups were established in 1996: the increase in school leaving age, the expansion of participation in higher and further education, and the fact that the public sector workforce tends, these days, to be older than the average.
“But it doesn’t stop here. We hope every branch and region will use this opportunity to step up organising with young workers – and make our young members’ groups better than ever before.”