Membership in the branches supported by Prospect’s Scotland office in Edinburgh increased in 2019 for the seventh successive year. This is a fantastic achievement by all the reps and members who have been involved in recruiting and growing our branches.
We recruited 973 new members in our branches in 2019 – a 9% increase in the 2018 figure of 896.
Members, reps and staff in the Scotland Office also worked hard to retain members. As a result, 2019 saw a big fall in the number of members who left us.
In 2019, 728 members left the union for a number of reasons – a fall of 14% since 2018.
While very few of those who left us were dissatisfied, they still need to be replaced, so any reduction is welcome.
National secretary Richard Hardy said: “It’s a tribute to the hard work and commitment of our reps, members and my colleagues in the Scotland office that we’ve been able to increase membership across the branches supported from Edinburgh for the seventh year in a row.
“Everybody involved should be proud of the work that we do supporting members and taking our message out into workplaces across the UK.”
As well as helping members in their workplaces, Prospect Scotland also campaigns and lobbies in Scotland and the UK to ensure our members’ concerns and views are heard.
Prospect Scotland did a wide range of meetings and engagements in pursuit of this aim including:
- one meeting with Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, where we raised the need to restore public sector pay in real terms
- two meetings with Derek Mackay, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Fair Work, also on public sector pay
- one meeting with John Swinney, Deputy First Minister, where we discussed redundancies at the James Hutton Institute and the future of funding for Scottish Science
- one meeting with Humza Yousaf, Minister for Justice, about pay in the Scottish Prison Service
- one meeting with Michael Matheson, Minister for Transport, about our dispute over air traffic controllers’ pay at Highlands and islands Airport Ltd
- one meeting with Rhoda Grant, Labour spokesperson on Finance and Fair Work, about HIAL’s plans to close air traffic control towers (this meeting was also attended by John Finnie MSP (Green) and Edward Mountain (Conservative)
- two meetings with the Scottish Parliament SNP Trade Union Group to discuss HIAL and public sector pay
- two meetings of the Scottish Parliament Labour Group to discuss public sector pay and HIAL.
- two meetings with Lesley Laird, then Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, to raise issues around industrial capacity and shipbuilding strategy in Scotland.
Prospect also campaigned on the need for a Just Transition as Scotland moves to decarbonise. Richard Hardy is a member of the Scottish Government’s Just Transition Commission.
The union hosted one meeting and chaired another fringe meeting on Just Transition at the SNP's autumn conference in Aberdeen.
We carried out industrial action ballots in HIAL and Scottish Power. The HIAL ballot was followed by a successful industrial action campaign and led to an improved pay award for our members.
Negotiations with Scottish Power were ongoing at the end of 2019.
The Scotland Office also hosted a meeting between Prospect’s general secretary and several branch reps and members to discuss Prospect’s response to the climate crisis.
“2019 was a year of significant challenges for a number of our branches and many of our members. But everyone has worked very hard to keep our members’ issues and concerns in the public eye and highlight the amazing jobs our members do across the UK.
“I want to thank all the reps and members on behalf of my team in Edinburgh, we genuinely couldn't do this without you – and who knows, 2020 could be the year we break the barrier of 1,000 new recruits,” Hardy concluded.