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Unionisation - UPDATE
Well just to keep people up to date with what is happening.

The meeting in Nottingham was a great success, and over 4 hours we discussed and actually cut through to the complex heart of the issues. and as we already know they are complicated and interwoven. Now I won't say that this is the first time that these have been highlighted, but in this case, we realed back and look at one particular area where change here can affect the rest of archaeology in general.

It was agreed that this initiative could not be driven by those of us in the room but must be led by those who it works for.

The current state of play is the creation of letters to send to IfA, ALGAO, FAME, PROSEPCT, UNISON, UNITE and PCS to explain the concept and broad basis of the initiaitve, once they have been informed fully, the entire 9 page edited transcript will be put online along with the mp3 of the final summing up at the meeting itself.


Don't wait to join.... unionise and be part of something stronger. Remember a Union is only as strong as the membership. choice of union will depend on who you are and what you do.

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For really I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest he
Thomas Rainborough 1647
Hi Hosty,

A quick question, if I may?

What was the reasoning behind not having representatives from the unions who already represent archaeologists at the meeting?

Isn't this current initiative to some extent "re-inventing the wheel"?
Interesting question, and indeed representation was hoped for and asked for. AS it turned out the person who could have done so was unable to - perhaps they will be able to make the next one. No exclusion policy was in place, anyone was free to come, however some were unable. Free travel was offered as well, to ensure that it was as open as possible. It is true that PROSPECT have an archaeology branch, however - UNISON also covers many archaeologists, UNITE also represents archaeologists (at Trent and Peak for example) and there is of course PCS which has over 400 heritage related members. the intention is to link these groups together in such a way that they represent archaeology together. with a national committee. IT would also mean that as a UNITE member - you could go to a PROSPECT rep, if they were the one that was within the company, and visa versa. it is all about that word that seems to escape us in archaeology cooperation and working towards a common good that is not just concerned with the self and what can I get out of it.

Appreciate the question Oz, as it does give the chance to say..

a) a rep from PROSPECT was asked
b) this is not about re-inventing a wheel, it is about getting the wheel moving.
This initiative appears to be aimed exclusively at field staff and the discussion about this issue across several threads has mentioned Prospect almost to the exclusion of all other unions. Some field archaeologists work in local government units where UNISON would be a more appropriate union to join than any of the others; my original question was raised with that in mind.

A trawl through UNISON's website shows that they don't have a dedicated section for heritage workers but a quick straw poll by telephone of UNISON heritage workers shows that most local government archaeologists originally started their careers in fieldwork and have years if not decades of relevant experience and a commitment to union activism. To use the authority I work for as an example, five of the six members of the Heritage Service are UNISON members and two of those five are elected officials within the branch. That level of commitment and understanding of the issues is representative of local government archaeologists across the country, rather than inviting yet another union (Unite) to be involved, wouldn't it be better to concentrate on the ones we already have?
UNITE already have arcaheologists in it..

UNISON (see above) and see PCS as well.

in first post, the list of ALL unions that are involved in heritage are listed. So this is indeed involving all the unions currently with heritage workers. I try to be careful... however, in most of my posts I talk about employees... I do mention field workers specifically as they are to be honest the worst off... however the word employee is the best to use.

prospect have an archaeology branch... they also have a seven point manifesto for change... and these both seem to have stalled... no offence meant... just a statement of fact. one they would admit as well I am sure. So.. I again say... cooperation between ALL the unions :face-huh: not dividing or any protectionism. Like it or not... many people would not join PROSPECT.. fine says I... it is your right ... hwever, what about these... the idea is to get people into a union... I personally don't care which one... I would just like to see them in one.
So which is the best Union to join? Prospect? Unite? Unison? What's the point if we all join different unions? Won't that just fragment things further?
It's the problem with transient staff. You'd normally join either the union that your employer recognised,or the one that you and your colleagues wanted to get recognized. If you're not going to be there when it does get recognised, or have moved from a private unit to a local authority unit, it causes problems - prospect wouldn't represent me when I worked for an LA unit, as they said I should be in Unison... That's why hosty's plan for working together is so important. It's the only way that the fragmentation of the unions could be overcome without having to chop and change every couple of months...
THanks Chimp... the fragmentation is here and now... the idea is to remove that.

Unison are mainly LA staff

PCS are mainly in English Heritage

PROSPECT and UNITE can represent employees (including transients) you choose... if you don't like one (for whatever reason... join the other...

The idea mooted is that ALL unions are able to support each other... even as you move about... so you can be in a PROSPECT rep unit, be in UNITE and still get representation or visa versa.

People from the start said it would divide the vote... well... it already is divided... fragmented... etc... so waht about the cunning plan of uniting ... hmmmm good idea...

Adding all the union members together creates a starting point...

If this initiative is about getting all the unions to work together, why was it only Prospect who were invited to the Nottingham meeting?
I was only made aware of PCS later... I bet nobody else knew of this ?

As to UNISON... well again... as this is mainly for fieldstaff, employees and specialists working in companies, then UNISON core membership did not specifically fit into this. OF course, during the run up to this, it would have been fine if somebody had said... why not UNISON too... but nobody did. During the meeting... which was free for anyone to attend.. (no restrictions - and indeed cash offered to pay for travel) the UNISON connection was brought up... and this is being acted on. Discussion communication leads to a better initiative.

So... if anyone has any ideas they want to put forward, may I suggest they do so now, rather than waiting til afterwards (not suggesting you are doing that Oz)

Say it now...

Currently the list of organisations that will be receiving an outline and letter before the full meeting summary (9 pages) is released to public view are


anyone else we have missed?

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