Unionprofessionals.org.uk is a new website built by the TUC for people who work for trade unions. Unlike the much-better known Unionreps.org.uk which is used by thousands of union reps across the UK, this site is aimed solely at those who are employed by unions.
By early April 2009, the site’s directory listed just over 900 registered users. (There are several hundred more users who choose not to display themselves in the directory.)
Unionprofessionals works along similar lines to Unionreps, with discussion forums open to all users, as well as resources on health and safety, education, learning, equality, employment law and research, international affairs, pensions, media and communications, organising and bargaining.
Each of the sections feature discussion topics, articles, links, other resources and events. The site also features a members’ directory, online polls, email alerts, an events calendar, and much more.
Because of the small size of the user base, which is due to the fact that the site remains relatively unknown, the various sections feel a bit empty. They list few resources and fewer events.
But that’s easily rectified as anyone who signs up to the site can quickly and easily add content. For example, I added a link to UnionBook, the new social networking site for trade unionists, which instantly appeared. Adding resources, events, discussion topics and so on is quick and easy.
One obvious thing that’s missing on the site is a jobs board. It’s probably fairly common for people who work for one union to move over to another one in the course of their careers. This would make the site more useful.
The idea behind unionprofessionals.org.uk is a good one. People who work for different trade unions often face the same issues, and have the same need for information and support. But they will rarely have the chance to meet up with those who do similar work in other unions. The creation of a website that allows them to work together online is long overdue.
If you work for a union in the U.K., you should sign up to Unionprofessionals today.