Blog: making progress in Plymouth

Plymouth in UNISON branch full-time rep Kevin Treweeks reflects on his nomination for a Get Active award

It should have been ME!

I’ve been to quite a few South West activists awards nights over the last few years so it was a strange feeling to be a nominee this year.

I had a great speech worked out to about how we are busy making Plymouth in UNISON great again, and how we were doing so much winning I’m getting tired of winning.

No really, believe me, we really are making a difference.

In the eight months since I went full time rep. I can give you at least four names of people who were down the road and gone whose jobs we have saved.

I can give a disturbing number of examples of treatment of staff you would assume never happens in the public sector. Capability hearings of people who had been off work following bereavement, a group of staff who had their wages cut for no reason other than to save money, loyal staff convinced that a restructure was fixed to get rid of them, so unvalued and insecure did they feel.

So we got stuck in. We organised that group of staff having their wages cut and got their money (at least temporarily) reinstated. We have supported many members back from illness and through the hated capability process (no dismissals of anyone back at work). We have consulted on restructures that started out as free-for-alls and ended up much more fairly with most staff being slotted back into their revised jobs.

I always want to be doing more. Right now more than half of our local libraries are under threat and the multi-academy trusts are chipping away at the Local Education Authority.

But we are building, recruiting new members and blooding new stewards; so maybe next year will be our year, and we can use Ken Loach for acceptance speech inspiration