A campaign for fair wages and affordable homes won UNISON’s Young Member Award for Bristol Apprentice Kath Pittman.
Kath produced an advice pamphlet, Support with Housing and Pay. UNISON SW Young Members are campaigning for a real living wage and affordable homes.
With house prices in Bristol rising faster than anywhere else in the UK – up 9.6% in 2016 – young workers see home ownership as a distant prospect. Renting is no better as average costs rose 9.2% from 2015 to 2016.
Kath’s pamphlet offers guidance to young people on where they can get support with housing, particularly if they are at risk of homelessness.
UNISON’s young members are concerned that the new higher minimum wage does not apply to under-25s. Official figures show almost 60% of 18-24 year old workers outside of London earn less than the real living wage.
Commenting on the work behind her Young Member Award, city council apprentice Kath said:
“I think being part of UNISON matters because it’s important we show solidarity with the people we work with. Unions have fought for rights we have today like safe workplaces, holiday and sick pay, and equal treatment. Now we need to keep defending and expanding these rights.
“Being an UNISON activist is has given me the confidence and skills to do things that are important to me. Every person I’ve met has been helpful and friendly and the way the training courses are run is just so refreshing.
“I’ve learned that building interest and engagement in campaigns takes more time and effort than I first thought, but UNISON has great support structures. There’s always someone to bounce ideas off.
“My biggest tip to people planning a campaign would be firstly make sure you have a plan. UNISON and the TUC have some great booklets on campaigning.
“Make yourself visible at events relevant to your campaign message, always have something to hand out and never be afraid to change your plan if something isn’t working.”