Happy New Year to all UNISON members in the North West and to your families- I am sorry it feels neither new nor too happy for many people. I genuinely hope you managed to get a rest over the festive season and I say a particular thanks to all of our members who worked throughout the holiday and continue to provide incredible quality services 24/7.
With a Westminster Government doing more sudden turns than Bill Bailey (I am advised he won some dance programme!) at a time when the variant virus is more vicious and it is now accepted that young children are vectors of that virus- it is no wonder our health and social care workers, and so many other public sector workers, are stretched to breaking point. Our members are understandably extremely anxious now we have an increase in transmission of the virus, a sudden increase in COVID-related deaths and have entered a further lockdown. UNISON North West continues to work hard to support our 200,000 members wherever you work.
UNISON North West made history last week holding its biggest ever virtual meeting with thousands of UNISON education workers - we received hundreds of questions and provided an expert panel to address the key issues. Once again, our region is taking the lead in this digital world showing that the pandemic cannot be a cloak of invisibility for our union and that campaigning and organising must take place, albeit from a safe social distance. Watch the event here.
In our region, we are playing our part in the national Save Our Services campaign and I would urge all members to watch this great video and get involved in the action to protect public services by contacting your MP - made really easy by this link.
UNISON North West will also be engaging in a campaign in support of our pensions being divested from companies profiteering from the occupation of Palestinian Territories. This pandemic has taught us all many things and one of those is that our 'neighbours' are not defined by geography but by collective struggles and shared values.
On behalf of the North West region, I would like to congratulate Christina McAnea on becoming our new General Secretary and wish her well in helping our union achieve the power, presence and profile our members deserve during one of the most difficult times in living memory.
Joining a union is like joining a gym - in order to benefit you have to get active - as we head towards AGM season (Jan-March) we are always looking for new ideas and new people to become stewards (reps). Interested? Contact your branch as there is loads of training (online for now and real when safe) and lots of support- you really can make a difference.
Reading this and not a member? Why not join UNISON?
Thank you for reading this and I hope you stay safe and well.