This week marks, for most people, the start of a new working year. Yet for many in our public services who work throughout the Christmas period, there’s not the prolonged break that many of us take for granted.
Nurses staffing hospital wards.
Street cleaners keeping our pavements tidy and safe to walk upon.
Ambulance staff and call handlers working around the clock to help those who need urgent help – especially those in London who handled technical problems on New Year’s Eve with dedication and skill.
Or homecare workers – many going above and beyond the call of duty – providing support at Christmas in homes throughout our communities.
But whether you were working over the holidays or spending time with friends and family, thank you for the remarkable work you do all year round to deliver world-class public services in often trying conditions.
Aside from rarely kept resolutions, the new year is an opportunity to reconsider our priorities, plans and aims for the year ahead – both personally and professionally – and think about the state of our communities, our country and our public services.
After a challenging 2016, it might appear difficult to consider the year ahead with much enthusiasm. And it’s going to be another tough one for public services – despite Theresa May’s early rhetoric the PM has shown herself to be every bit as dedicated to the austerity agenda as her predecessor. There’s also the uncertainty caused by Brexit to contend with.
But together we can and will still make great strides in the year ahead.
Providing the best possible public services – from local government that still gives so much despite years of savage cuts, to the National Health Service – still our nation’s greatest achievement after sixty years. And supporting the public service champions, without whom our communities and our loved ones would not be cared for and protected.
Your union will stand by you every step of the way throughout this year and the years to come. Fighting for the best deal at work, fighting for rights at work and at home and standing up to those who wish to do down our public services.
I am so proud of our union and everything we do every moment of every day for our members – and for each other.
So let’s stand together – let’s stay strong. And together in UNISON we can make a difference in 2017.
Happy new year.