♥unions week of action celebrates our fight for fairness

UNISON South West leads ♥unions week of action celebrating Trade Union achievements

Trade unions across the South West are this week (8-14 Feb) running over thirty events as part of the TUC’s ♥union week to challenge negative perceptions of trade unions.

Hospitals, high streets, town halls and more will see stalls and drop in sessions arranged where members of the public can talk to union reps about their work. Places including Bath, Bournemouth, Bristol, Gloucester, Plymouth, Swindon, Taunton, Torbay, Truro and Weston Super Mare have scheduled campaign events as UNISON blitzes the South West.

Despite the labour movement’s history winning such rights as sick pay, statutory holiday, the minimum wage, and health and safety standards, union chiefs are concerned that much day to day work is taken for granted.

UNISON is taking part in ♥unions week as part of its response to the Government’s Trade Union Bill. New laws propose restrictions on industrial action and further regulation of trade union money, including limiting how members pay their dues. The proposed changes have attracted criticism from some Tories, who are concerned at the impact on democracy they will have*.

Regional Secretary for UNISON South West, Joanne Kaye, said:

“A fair workplace, safe and healthy conditions, and the skills to do the job properly – these are the things UNISON members campaign for. This is not an extreme set of demands, yet the Government is intent on a strict new set of rules that tip the balance of power too far away from ordinary workers.

Only last week I was lucky enough to present three UNISON members with regional awards. From workplace learning, to equal pay, to decent treatment for LGBT people, each of them had added immeasurable value to their colleagues and community. We should be making it easier for unions to achieve this, but instead the Trade Union Bill treats working people like an enemy.

Nobody – not employers, workers, nor many politicians – thinks the Government’s changes are a good idea. I hope ♥unions week will give the public an opportunity to learn how trade unions work for a better future for us all. If we’re going to build a strong economy, we need trade unions so growth is distributed across the country instead of sucked up by the London super rich. We say to the Government – stop focusing on imaginary problems and start supporting working people.”