By Richard Hoogstad, Prospect communications officer
The penultimate day of Union Week saw me boarding a flight at 7.05 from London Gatwick to Jersey on a bright clear autumnal day to join the inaugural JCSA bus tour.
After landing I met up with executive officer Tom Quinn, who works as a full-time rep on the island, and organiser Chris Manning and negotiator Bob King, who are based in the Chertsey office but cover the Channel Islands and had flown in for Union Week activities.
We pimped our ride, pictured above, decking it out in Prospect flags and posters, and then hit the road.
Tom had arranged a full-day itinerary, with 14 stops between 9.30 and 16.00, and we headed out looking forward to meeting Prospect members and potential new recruits. Despite being ill with flu, Tom kept us to the planned schedule, getting us to each venue for the advertised time.
First stop was a sports centre, where we dropped off literature and membership forms – and three members signed up immediately.
Buoyed by this initial success, as well as our flags holding up on the journey, we proceeded to the second stop – a school where, because obviously we couldn’t hang around, we dropped off recruitment literature, membership forms and a few freebies to be placed in the staff room.
Prospect represents more than 800 civil servants in Jersey, including teachers and teaching assistants, and so schools made up more than a few stops on the whistlestop tour.
At our next stop, a prospective member who works as a temp offered some constructive criticism of Prospect’s website, saying that there was not enough emphasis on workers who are not in managerial roles, such as herself.
Two or three people took membership forms at this stop, saying that they would complete them and send them in.
After another couple of stops we parked on The Parade off Parade Gardens to wait for members and prospective members working at Jersey General Hospital and Cyril Le Marquand House.
We got a lot of interest at this stop, handing out many membership forms to people who said they were going to complete them and send them in later.
I was able to do a couple of brief interviews on camera. First up, Matthew Moon, who works on appeals in the traffic department, told me why he was joining Prospect (off camera, he regaled me with tales of his storm-chasing in the US!). Next up was Terry Renouf, branch chairman, who wanted to impart a Union Week message (watch out for a Union Week video).
While we were parked in the square a few members came out to let us know that they had all received an email regarding the ongoing pay negotiations for civil servants in Jersey, with Tom, Chris and Bob providing on-the-spot responses.
A couple of stop-offs later and we encountered our first and only heckler on the day, who left his car in traffic to let us know that the workers of Jersey were being let down by unions that didn’t have the stomach to go on strike over pay negotiations and that unless something was done he was going to campaign for workers to leave the unions. When questioned, he wasn’t sure which union he belonged to, and just as Bob was warming up he decided he wasn’t in the mood to debate and departed.
Fortified by coffee and egg and bacon sandwiches from a cafe in the harbour, we continued our tour of the island. Despite the autumn chill and a stiff breeze, many members came out to discuss issues of concern and more than a few potential recruits came to collect membership forms, promising to complete them online or post them in.
Bob and Chris were staying overnight to continue the #talkProspect campaign the following day with Tom, but I jumped on a bus to the airport as evening fell.
While we accepted a few completed membership forms on the tour, many more potential members took forms away with them and will hopefully sign up before 14 October to benefit from the first three months’ membership free.
Union Week may be over, but the work continues. Remember you have until 14 October to sign up and get three months’ membership free – and the member-recruit-member offer still stands, with nominated recruiters getting £10 vouchers for each new member.