Organising is a trade union term - but what does it mean?


'Organising' is a term that is often used in the trade union movement. Trade unions exist to organise workers in the workplace. Organising is about involving members in union activity.

This means that members identify workplace issues that matter to them and work to solve them together with TSSA staff to support them. In practical terms, this is achieved by ensuring that:

  • members are kept well informed and involved in the decisions that matter to them;
  • new members are being recruited continually;
  • once recruited, new members are encouraged to become actively involved with the union.

Organising is recognition that for change to happen workers need to take responsibility for identifying and campaigning around the workplace issues that matter to them whilst at the same time taking responsibility for making the union visible and strong in their workplace.

Why organising works

TSSA believes that people who actually work in the industries we organise in and experience problems in the workplace are in the best position to decide our union’s policies and priorities.

This is true whether the issue is negotiating annual pay rises or lobbying on the future structure of the rail industry.

How organising works

Workplace reps, branch officers and other activists are at the heart of TSSA - and organising. They are the members who take responsibility for finding out what other members in the workplace want, and representing those views to employers.

They recruit new members to the union and ensure that there are regular opportunities for discussion and debate.

The key to successful organising is communication. Workplaces, where trade union members talk to each other about the issues they face each day, are invariably well organised with naturally strong leaders and well-informed members.

And it's not just work

For TSSA, life goes on well beyond work. Across the country, we have a network of branches, where members can discuss all sorts of issues, as well as workplace concerns, often in a social setting.

Branches are a vital cog in TSSA’s machinery - they decide who represents TSSA at events like the Labour Party conference and TUC Congress, as well as submitting motions and selecting delegates to TSSA’s own annual conference.

I’m a TSSA member and I want to help - what can I do?

The first thing to do is contact your TSSA workplace rep - he or she will be able to tell you more. If you’re not sure who that is, contact our Helpdesk and they will give you contact details.

If you don’t have a local rep, why not get involved yourself? Contact the Helpdesk and they’ll put you in contact with the Regional Organiser for your company who will make sure you have access to all the support, resources and training TSSA offers its reps.

TSSA Helpdesk

0800 328 2673 United Kingdom

1800 805 272 Republic of Ireland

Helpdesk Enquiry Form

Member advice from our Helpdesk

If you are a TSSA member and are looking for advice or assistance in connection with your employment or membership, you can contact our Members’ Helpdesk.

We can advise on a range of workplace issues including; discipline and grievance hearing, maternity rights and redundancy.

Helpdesk opening hours: 09:00 - 17:00 Monday - Thursday  |  09:00 - 16:00 Friday

Please note: we cannot undertake to provide advice to non-members, to members of other unions, or to members on behalf of their partners/friends. If you are not yet a member, please join TSSA online.