India Organising campaign supported by UK Organiser Sharon
Sharon Wilde (pictured) has years of organising experience with the British union GMB, working in the Midlands in the grey industrial areas currently suffering under the austerity politics of an anti trade union government. She has trained and mentored activists and imlemented campaign plans in many different areas and situations. But she never imagined that she would be on the other side of the world, in the busy and demanding environment of building a union for Security Workers in Bangalore in India! For four weeks she has taken her trade union experience and her own personal commitment to work with union activists in Bangalore, to assist them in their organising work.
The GMB has a strong tradition of International work and has a great record of working with UNI affiliated unions to offer resources to build trade unions around the world. In recent years Malawi in Africa was one such place and this encouraged them to do more. Last year in Estonia Sharon was one of two Organisers who trained Security workers in the Baltic states on organising planning and strategy. So when UNI was looking for an organiser to assist in Bangalore the first union we asked was the GMB and they were more than willing to give Sharon paid leave to carry out this work.
Although the union has been growing, the campaign was suffering from fatigue and other problems associated with long campaigns. Sharon`s role was to use her experience to see if there were things that needed changing, training that could be offered and to generally freshen up the approach. She was working with a team that wanted to move forward and one that agreed that having someone give a critical but friendly eye was a good idea.
It has been agreat success. There are 1,500 new members, a demostration involving hundreds of members over a pay claim and a new strategy agreed and running. Sharon herself was a great hit with the activists - she has promised to dance on the table when they get 2,000 new members! Sharon still takes part in the weekly skype calls with the union and UNI and so continues to advise and assist them.
Solidarity doesn`t just mean money, often it can also be time and other resources. Congratulations to Sharon and to the GMB but also to the Private Security Guards Union in Bangalore on their new successes!