European Federation of Journalists

ETUI-EFJ Training: “Organising and recruiting in challenging times”

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) held a six-week training course online for union workers on the topic of “Organising and recruiting in challenging times”, taking place from 12 January until 16 February 2021. The training sessions were guided by the ETUI trainers, Ulisses Garrido and Alina Mihaela Caia taking consideration the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and the digital transformation in the media and union movement.

Here are the course summary and a compilation of the online course materials, resources and learning outcomes. The course materials and exercises are organised in a way for potential participants to conduct their self-pace study.

Week 1

The course programme and the learning process
In the first week, the participants were introduced to the course and its main aims and objectives.

  1. define their trade union identity and culture,
  2. get acquainted with successful trade union models of action,
  3. analyse their organisational context and potential,
  4. synthesize tools and communication channels for union digital marketing,
  5. elaborate a recruiting plan, considering the visibility of trade union and 6) design a recruiting campaign, based on effective trade union organisation.

The participants got to know one another and wereintroducedto the online learning approach, namely the collaborative learning method, which included the training sessions, distance working groups, online tools to complete activities and a common space for sharing the group work. This method focuses on active participation, teamwork, cooperation, mentoring and knowledge sharing.

Various resources including new online tools and on why to be unionised were collected here.

Distance learning groups were formed and they were given a group exercise on “Why am I unionised? Why is there an interest to end unions?” You can complete the exercise here either alone or with your colleagues.


Week 2

Why being a trade union member?
In the second week, the groups presented and debated their work results on the question of why being a member and the benefits of membership. A group activity on the need to know one’s workers and who can be a member ensued. A collection of resources on multiple topics, such as the relationship with one’s members, the importance of visibility, social media campaigning and communication plans, is found here. The distance working group task for week two was to analyse assigned case studies.

Week 3

How, when, where do we recruit?
In the third week, the groups presented and debated the case studies and discussed the visibility of the trade unions and its activity. The distance working group task for week three focussed on the topic of how to improve the trade unions’ visibility and to be more attractive and powerful.

Week 4

Communication: the essential tool
After a presentation of the group work results, the fourth week’s session provided several useful tips and tools for unions and their digital marketing strategies and approaches to contact, inform, mobilise and win members on social networks.

Considering these resources, the distance working group task for week four was to design a recruiting plan.

Week 5

Unionise as organise: a task for all

Following the presentations of the group work results, the fifth week revolved around recruitment and successful campaign strategies. Here is a detailed plan on how to conceive such a campaign and here are numerous tips and recommendations for trade unions and organisations for this process. The collection of resources is all about campaigning. The distance working group task for week five was to design a recruiting campaign.

Week 6

The post recruitment
After presenting and debating the proposed campaigns, the final session dived into what happens after the recruitment. Here is a presentation on what to do for earning and maintaining the members’ loyalty, according to the motto “Gaining new members is good, but retaining the members is better”. Organising, mobilising, contacting and supporting members continuously is key.Apart from the numerous presentations, resource collections and tips linked to above, the EFJ handbook on building stronger unions in Europe as well as the Unions 21 report on Covid-19 and the work of trade unions are strongly recommended readings.