Campaigning against cuts – a basic guide

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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 ideas.

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 purposes.
  • 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: 2 March 2015