With its roots entwined with the reconstructionist thinkers of the late 19th Century, it’s a slogan, a statement of intent, a declaration, that has stood the test of time.
For those of us who seek fundamental change in the world around us, for those of us who believe we should fight for these changes together and build a society that serves us all better, it encapsulates much of what we do. Or at the very least what we know we should be doing!
‘Educate, Agitate, Organise’ is the theme of the 121st Annual Scottish Trades Union Congress, the name of our new blog, and the overarching ethos that will guide our work over the coming year.
The nature of work is changing, as it always has. But now, in 2018, it does feel that many of our hard-won rights are being eroded as new ways to exploit workers emerge, and the UK Government continues with its cynical and cruel agenda against the working-class.
The gig and collaborative economies (think Uber & Deliveroo) have attempted to redefine what constitutes a worker/employer relationship. Unpaid trial shifts, insecure work, bogus self-employment, and other often perfectly legal, but immoral, practices are rife, but are particularly concentrated in sectors with low trade union density like hospitality and private care.
But there is an ever growing feeling that if we want to fight back against this tide and begin to grow trade union membership in Scotland once again, we need to return to the kind of face to face, shoulder to shoulder deep organising that shaped and built our movement in the beginning.
Trade unions in Scotland are investing in their organising structures and resources so they can better support workers to fight back against the issues they most want to change in their workplaces and communities. They are looking for new ways to work together, to share information and skills, to better coordinate industrial action. And it is our role to better support trade unions to do all of this.
In this series of blogs, we discuss our plans for 2018 and why it will be the year of ‘Educate, Agitate, Organise’ for the STUC.