Funding launch for Sheffield Area Union Organiser

Appeal launched to union branches, other organisations and individuals to help create £10,000 initial fund

 Sheffield TUC has pledged £4000 in a brand new funding drive to recruit a specialist union organiser for the Sheffield area. This new role will be targeting workers in low pay jobs and/or insecure work, who now comprise a staggering 25% of the city’s workforce.

Martin Mayer, Secretary Sheffield Trade Union Council, said “Our Sheffield Needs a Pay Rise Campaign has teamed up with the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) to fund a Union Organiser for the Sheffield area. This is a ground breaking initiative to take the campaign onto a new level and bring union organisation to thousands of low paid workers in our city. They need a union, they need to get organised – and they need to prepare for strike action to win £10 per hour, secure contracts, and guaranteed hours”.

A recent academic study into the state of Sheffield’s labour market, commissioned by Sheffield TUC on behalf of the SNAP campaign, revealed that 25% of workers are on the minimum wage and/or insecure contracts (such as zero hours, bogus self-employment, temporary contracts etc). Worse still, pay levels are equal to 2004 levels in real terms, as wages have stagnated and fallen behind inflation continuously for 8 years or more.

“Sheffield’s high wage manufacturing economy has long since gone” said Martin Mayer “and now today’s city workers are struggling to survive on rock bottom wages, insecure jobs and a bleak future. All too often, today’s bosses are bullying workers, refusing to recognise a union, and squeezing labour costs to the last penny boost their profits. We are now calling time on Sheffield’s 21st century exploitation scandal”.

“The BFAWU’s model for organising MacDonald’s workers in other parts of the country works – and we are going to bring it here to Sheffield”, he added, “but we won’t be stopping at MacDonald’s. We will be targeting low paid workers in non-union jobs right across the fast food industry, retail, hospitality, call centres and care centres where the majority of these workers can be found.

The objectives of the Sheffield Needs a Pay Rise campaign are clear:

  • £10 an hour now
  • Secure contracts with guaranteed hours – no more zero hours
  • Regular shift patterns and rights to time off without victimisation
  • No management bullying – respect and justice at work
  • Recruit workers into a trade union
  • Win union recognition and a comprehensive collective bargaining agreement covering wages, conditions, fair discipline procedures etc

The initial target of the campaign is to raise £10,000 – the minimum needed to fund a part-time organiser for 12 months. The new union organiser will be recruited and employed by BFAWU and trained to use their highly successful organising model, but will work with Sheffield TUC and Sheffield Needs a Pay Rise Campaign on a number of different targeted workplaces.

Donations are now being sought urgently from local union branches, the wider trade union movement, other supportive organisations and individuals.

Donations can be made by cheque or by bank transfer:

    • Donations by cheque: please make cheques payable to Sheffield Trade Union Council and write on the back “Union Organiser Fund”. Please send by post to The Secretary, Sheffield Trade Union Council, c/o Trades and Labour Club, Front Door letterbox, 200 Duke Street, Sheffield S2 5QQ. Please be sure to include an address for receipt to be sent
  • Donations by BACS transfer: Name of account: Sheffield Trade Union Council. Sort code 60-83-01 Account no 59109499 Reference: Union Organiser Fund. Please also email to to confirm donation to ensure acknowledgement and a receipt.