Workingmen’s and other social clubs affiliated to the CIU movement have been urged to “pay their dues” to maintain the health of the union during the economic squeeze.

The Club and Institute Union’s (CIU) national president, Durham branch secretary George Smith, issued the clarion call, amid mounting financial hardships being experienced across clubland and the wider hospitality industry.

Mr Smith, entering his fourth year as CIU president, underlined the importance of the annual fees as the union seeks to help steer member clubs through the cost of living crisis.

He also highlighted the value of the sale of pass cards to club members to ensure the overall financial health of the union and its ability to give continued support to clubs.

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Speaking in the Club Journal, the monthly publication for CIU members, Mr Smith said: “Our clubs are living through some very challenging economic times.

“It’s clear that the rise in energy costs, combined with the continuing high levels of inflation, are major concerns for clubs, many of which are still recovering from the blow to trade caused by the pandemic.

“As we have been since 1862, the union is here to help our member clubs, whatever regulatory, licensing, HR or financial problems they may be facing.”

Mr Smith said expert advice and business support are available from CIU branch and head offices whenever required, which includes assistance offered from its dedicated Rules Department.

He said the union also continues to give clubs a collective voice at governmental level as a key part of the Committee of Registered Clubs’ Association (CORCA), which lobbies politicians on regulatory areas affecting member clubs.

Mr Smith also pointed to the discounted CIU tariff rate for musical licensing requirements for member clubs as well as access to its education programme.

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“But, to continue to do our job in helping clubs across the land, we need our club to support the union through paying their annual fees as well as selling pass cards to their members.

“These are our two main sources of income as an organisation and, therefore, the absolute lifeblood of the CIU.

“It is worth pointing out that 50-per cent of the annual fees collected from our clubs is returned to the branches to ensure the local support is there for clubs when they need it.”

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He said payment of overdue fees, which were due on November 1, will help to ensure the union has, “a sustainable financial model” with the ability to maintain support for its clubs, which in turn, play an important role for their members and local communities.

Despite his national and branch CIU duties, Mr Smith, a Sunderland-born former shipyard worker on both the rivers Wear and Tees, maintains strong connections with his own club, Billingham Trade Union Social Club.

He has served as both its general secretary and treasurer in recent years.