Usdaw scoops top awards at the 2014 TUC Annual Trade Union Communications ‘Oscars’

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Date: 15 July 2014

The TUC held their annual trade union communications awards at Congress House on Wednesday 9 July 2014, where Usdaw won two categories, were highly commended in two others and commended in a further three.

Arena, the journal for members of Usdaw has won

best magazine at the TUC’s annual Trade Union Communications Awards which took place in London last week. This year’s judges described Arena as, ‘outstanding in every respect – packed with information and regular features focusing on members’ working lives. They found it ‘newsy’ in style with many items responding to members’ queries. The compact design and vibrant use of colour makes this a real page-turner.’

The best one-off publication

category always attracts entries in a huge range of formats and never makes the judges’ job easy. This year Usdaw’s booklet on maternity and parental rights came top with its well-laid out and user-friendly style. The judges felt this was, ‘an incredibly important and informative booklet on maternity and parental rights.’ They liked the way that a great deal of information was laid out in an engaging and accessible way with clever design features.

The best feature category drew a strong field with a diverse range of subjects. Usdaw won a highly commended for a feature on the bedroom tax, which appeared in the June 2013 edition of Arena magazine. Judges said, ‘This was a strong contender, with a case study showing the full iniquity of the bedroom tax, what’s happening and what members can do. The piece also spotlights the new rules that came into effect in April last year. An important topic presented superbly and succinctly. Keeping it simple and easy to understand gives maximum impact.


The best use of electronic communication, the judges find, is often a perplexing category due to its diverse range of entries. Usdaw were highly commended for their e-newsletter, with the judges saying, ‘These colourful, graphic-led e-mail newsletters were each created to serve specific sectors of the union’s membership. They are designed to meet the reps’ needs for information as well as that of the general membership. Another high-quality product produced and updated in-house.’

Usdaw’s website was commended with judges saying: ‘This modern website with a clean feel makes good use of both images and colour throughout to make it welcoming and attractive.’ The judges liked the easy signposting to different campaigns and the use of social media links.


Photographs featured strongly this year in the

best photo/illustration award. Usdaw’s Rezwan Javied was commended for this picture from the union’s Annual Delegate Meeting, which was featured in Arena magazine. The judges thought, ‘This was a visually interesting photo that worked particularly well in context. Restricting the text to the bottom half of the page allows the image to have maximum impact.’

Innovation was the watchword for many of the entries in the best campaign category which again drew a strong field of entries. Usdaw was commended for their Time to Care – Supporting parents and Carers campaign, saying: This innovative campaign used an issue that affects many members to showcase the role of the union. Some excellent materials were produced for a campaign day informing members of their rights as carers and lobbying the Government to do more to support workers needing time off to care.’



The judges for the TUC’s 2014 Awards were campaigner Carys Afoko, a campaigner, Musicians’ Union’s Head of Communications Keith Ames, Director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition Holly Dustin, MP for Corby Andy Sawford and the Daily Mirror’s industrial correspondent Mark Ellis.


John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary says: ‘It is a great achievement for us to win in two categories, come second in two more and be commended in a further three. I’m very proud of the communications work that we do, which is a vital part of our work, ensuring that members are more engaged in the union, understand what we are trying to achieve and are able to participate in promoting our campaigns.’

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