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Campaigning against cuts - a basic guide
As part of the overall campaign to revitalise and defend public
services, this is a useful guide to the essentials of campaigning.
We will want to issue advice and help at different times along
the way, and review our approach, so below are a few basic tips.
We want this to be of help to both experienced campaigners and
new activists. This guide is in no way a final word – as
with any campaigning there should be room for everyone to contribute
We need Aims and Targets
- Aims are the focus for any campaign, around
which everything else is built.
- Targets are the people we need to convince.
Who can deliver the decisions we want?
- Aims & targets make it possible to review the campaign.
Are we achieving what we set out to achieve? Is the material
we produce reaching the targets? Make sure that everyone knows
the issues around this campaign and the line of march.
Involve the members
- Encourage member activity in support of this campaign. We
need to focus on things that impact on members, and concern
them. This means they will identify with the campaign and support
activity. The campaign can also have the added benefit of building
organisation within the branch and raising the profile of UNISON.
- This means asking your members what issues they want tackled
and assessing what are key. There are many ways of doing this
– surveys of members can be useful in this and for publicity
- One likely issue that is likely to increase in importance,
is the impact of leaving vacancies unfilled on the staff that
are left. Get the likely problems from the staff involved.
- Use the attached pro-forma to assess campaign issues.
Planning is essential
- Creating a flexible plan with a timetable and with responsibilities
identified means you have a strategy. Everyone is aware of the
intended progress of the campaign and can prepare for events.
It also means you know when specific materials are needed, and
can identify shortfalls in resources.
- Make sure you draw up a document, listing key dates, proposed
activities, resources and responsibilities. For example, are
there meetings of your council your branch might want to attend
or lobby? Is there a local event that could provide a useful
‘hook’ for your campaign?
Who does the planning?
It may be easier to form a smaller group to draw up the plan.
They could then take it to the rest of the branch for discussion
and agreement. A small group allows flexibility to meet as and
when necessary. The group can continue to meet as events progress,
adapting the plan or co-opting others as and when necessary. They
can also review each phase as it happens and report back to the
rest of the branch.
Of course this may not be appropriate for your particular branch.
Choose whatever suits you best. Some branches agree to free up
specific individuals, sharing out their work so they can concentrate
on the campaign.
Page updated: 5 February 2010
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