British union Unite has recently launched a Working Students Campaign, encouraging students to set up campus-based societies. Students can decide for themselves which issues they want to address. The membership fee for students is £10 per year.
Regular members are asked to help organising students. David Braniff-Herbert, National Organiser for Youth and Students: “Our strategy aims to include our members at all levels: encouraging members to sign up their student kids for yearly membership to ensure they are protected in the workplace; encouraging workplace activists to recruit students employed at their workplace; involving regional councils in supporting and implementing the strategy. Everyone has a part to play in organising working students into Unite, our next generation of trade union activists”.
During the past ten years, the number of working students in the UK has risen by 50%. Most of them work in casualised and low paid sectors such as retail and hospitality.
Unite aims to set up at least 12 societies and to organise 800 student members by 1 September 2008. Birmingham, Durham, Bristol and Manchester Metropolitan universities already have societies. The campaign’s Facebook group already has over 100 members.
The campaign has been developed in collaboration with student unions and the TUC Organising Academy.