Virtual Unity

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This month brings an email from an activist with the AUT at a major British university. He describes how email and the internet have become useful tools in their attempt to organise workers at the university.

He writes, 'We are of course in a good position in the AUT in that almost all members have email at work. However, with the spread of email I think the unions are missing out on a potentially very useful organising tool.' He goes on to add, 'Of course it is only one tool as part of a major improvement in branch activity recently, including recruitment stalls and a newsletter (on paper), but it is an important one.'

The email brings a couple of websites useful for trade unionists to my attention, including a website set up by the TUC especially for trade union representatives, which has helpful information including average wage increases and tips on recruitment.

Also mentioned is LabourNet, which 'promotes computer communications as a medium for strengthening and building organised labour'. Their coverage of international union stories and issues is of particular interest.

There are a host of other useful sites, particularly if you are trying to find information quickly at work. A good starting point is the TUC's website, which includes a comprehensive list of other unions, and has a large section of information on rights at work, and links to other 'union friendly' websites giving similar advice.

One site that particularly caught my eye is the TUC's 'WorkSMART'. This has lots of information about using the internet at work and whether or not an employer can legally monitor/check email. Probably required reading if you want to organise at work via email.

Finally, last month's blogging article brought a number of emails. I said there were few blogs from a socialist perspective, which of course resulted in an email from one of the few socialist bloggers - hoping that I can put a link to their site. Having made such a blanket statement, it seems rude not to give Leninology a plug.

martinempson@hushmail.com