Campaigning for the EU referendum is well and truly underway. Media coverage all seems to be all about politicians pulling stunts to outdo each other in their chance to appear on the evening news.
In UNISON South West we believe that our members deserve better than theatricals.
Whether the UK ends up staying in Europe or leaving will impact us all.
Our rights as workers to at least four weeks paid annual leave come from Europe. So do our rights to proper breaks and at least 11 hours rest between shifts. Our access to free or low rate healthcare on a beach in Spain or a country town in France comes from our EU membership.
We are all affected, too, by the state of the job market, the capacity for our businesses to trade easily and cheaply across Europe, the impact of EU rules on our laws and taxes. The list goes on.
UNISON branches and members in the South West were in fact ahead of the game. All of your branches came together at Regional Council in January and voted that as a region we believe our members needs the UK to stay in the EU.
Indeed, your branches believed this was so important that it was a policy motion that should go to National Conference so that everyone in UNISON heard those arguments and were encouraged to vote to remain
Nationally, there is currently no policy despite our push regionally. The whole union is consulting on what our position should be. This is your chance to speak up and get involved.
Every branch, every self-organised group, and every committee has been asked to respond with their view on how UNISON should campaign, if at all, by 5 April. That means that right now every committee, SOG and branch across the country is consulting their members.
Have you had your say yet?
If not this is your chance. There’s lots more information here– with both some basic facts, and a link to a really good pack put together by UNISON Centre giving the arguments on both sides around the bigger picture of the economy, our rights and our whole position in the world.
Alternatively, if your main worry is what the impact might be on you at work spend a few moments looking at the TUC report into how our rights at work will be affected by staying or leaving.
UNISON is your union. In making UNISON policy it is important your voice is heard. Take this chance to speak up for not only your own future but the future of us all and all our children.