As a Local Government Branch Secretary, Regional Convenor of the largest UNISON region and a council employee, I see every day the incredible work UNISON members, activists and staff do; not just to improve working lives of our members, but also the lives of those I see ‘professionally’ as a practising social worker who are without doubt the most vulnerable in our communities.
I know the work our members do day and night makes a real difference, but the reality is that those who control the policies and the purse strings, the funding for our public services, our environment and our wages do not value us, they exploit us. It is time to take action.
Pay – Time For Action – In different service groups in our region, our membership has rejected final pay offers and various ballots are pending that will require significantly more engagement than ever before. It is too easy to ‘blame’ members for not engaging, or blame ‘national office’ for not doing enough but we all have to take responsibility for a strong and collective response. All ideas for a greater turnout, for larger participation in ballots are always welcome and we will be calling regional meetings and contacting members to ask and agree how best to build workers’ power and workers’ involvement – please be part of those efforts.
Climate Change – Time For Action – Our region has taken a positive lead on climate change and COP 26 in November brings together a wide array of trade unions and campaign groups with an incredible and detailed list of activities – these can all be found in one place: https://cop26coalition.org/ Anything you can do to support these events will make a difference.
Black History Month/Social Care/Schools/Post Pandemic/Smear on Demand – Time For Action – Your UNISON North West region is involved in so much you may not be aware of but interested in and even prepared to get active in – All details are here or simply contact your Branch Secretary as we really would welcome more getting involved - https://www.unisonnw.org/campaigns
Branch Secretaries Summit – Time For Action, Friday 26th November, 10.30-3.30pm at the Mechanics Institute. I recognise the key role branch secretaries carry out in our union and our region, but I also worry about branch activist burn-out as we face real challenges with membership density, fragmentation of services, threats of job and pay cuts. This summit is designed to follow up on previous actions and agree new ones to address the challenges jointly. I want this summit to be one that agrees action and focus on what makes a difference to our members and our union – it will NOT be about giving people more work, but it will be about looking at how we can, as a collective, be more effective.
Thank you and congratulations if you have read this far – doing things the way we have always done them will bring the same or similar outcomes so it is time to get active, carry on with what works and stop what does not. Time for Action!
Glen Williams, UNISON North West Regional Convenor