Trade union research officers inform the activities and strategic development of trade unions by collecting, analysing and circulating information on social, economic and political issues.
Research supports three key aims:
recognition of unions as bargaining units;
recruitment of new members;
representation of members on issues that affect working people.
The role combines research and writing, presentations to key decision makers, networking with other unions, academics and specialist media. Trade union research officers also deal with joint projects with other agencies, working on common issues that affect working life and social justice. The role provides an opportunity for people with a strong political commitment to support workers' rights in various sectors such as engineering, retail and education.
Typical work activities
A researcher's role spans the whole process of identifying issues to explore; gathering information; analysis; writing up results; delivering a report or briefing; and circulating information within and outside the union. Tasks include:
applying qualitative and quantitative methodologies to research projects for the union on economic, social, political and industrial issues;
interviewing members of the public, union workers and trade union officials;
networking with other unions and external organisations in the UK and abroad;
keeping up to date with industry and union developments;
providing statistical data and other information to shop stewards for negotiations;
analysing official documentation and legislation (recent and historical) to assess the impact on union activities and interests;
working with other union staff, management and industry members to produce research information;
collating information and producing reports and briefings to inform and create union policy;
writing speeches, press releases and articles, e.g. for union journals and policy documents;
preparing presentations for union committees and conferences;
writing recruitment and publicity leaflets;
working with management to produce submissions for government and other public bodies;
responding to internal and external research enquiries;
organising conferences and seminars;
using knowledge and experience to assist in developing publicity campaigns;
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