NTEU believes that its ability to effectively meet its goals and objectives is affected significantly by the level of its membership across the country, and in each Branch of the organisation.  Strong membership levels provide a base of support in each workplace that can be organised in pursuit of the Union’s objectives.   

Recruitment of new members and retention of existing members is therefore an essential part of organising, and a key consideration in all the work of the Union.  As a consequence, recruitment and retention is a role expected of all Elected Officers, Delegates members and staff.   

Recent union surveys of new members indicate that a large proportion of these members joined the Union on recommendation from a colleague.  This underlines the importance of workplace union representatives or Delegates in maintaining union density.  It also means that positive stories in the workplace about union campaigns or assistance to individuals contributes to the recruitment and retention effort.  

NTEU believes that members need to be supported in their workplace through a combination of campaigning, promotion, and individual member assistance.  These efforts need to be balanced to ensure that members see and feel the union is there for them when they need it. 

Membership growth requires that retention of members must also be a key priority and focus.  Around 50% of new members leave the Union within 3-4 years.  Those that stay members beyond this time are more likely to stay members for a significant period.  While many membership departures are a result of normal churn associated with changes of employment, creating a relationship with each member is important to reduce attrition, and to encourage departing members to re-join the Union when they are re-employed in the sector. 

As a consequence, recruitment efforts expected of Elected Officers, Delegates, Members and Staff include: 

  • Direct face to face contact with potential members;
  • Using the delivery of a new member’s kit to introduce new members to the Union: give members a sense of belonging to a collective; seek to reduce member turnover; and, to identify interested members for possible future Delegate roles;
  • The conducting of workplace meetings and training/information sessions for specific work groups, work types, and staff with common experiences and needs;
  • Contacting members who have resigned without explanation to assess their reasons for resigning, and seeking to retain them as members;
  • The delivery of pay rise leaflets (including membership forms) to potential members;
  • The maintenance and regular updating of non-member databases for mapping, campaigning and recruitment purposes on an annual basis as a minimum;
  • The regular distribution of union communications including emails, printed newsletters, and maintenance of the Branch websites;
  • Identifying, recruiting, training and supporting Delegates in all workplaces; and
  • Providing guidance to local union leaders and Delegates about their role in these activities.