Our union has a long and proud history of winning for people who work in our public services – and every day, union members, activists and staff defend, protect and support the 1.3 million people who belong to UNISON.
We have a huge amount to be proud of but – understandably in these difficult times – we often dwell only on the difficulties, not the victories; only on the struggles, not the successes.
I am incredibly proud to be a part of this union and to have the honour of leading it. But the real source of pride is UNISON members, who are delivering world class public services even when times are tough.
UNISON members are the champions of our public services. Whatever sector they work in, whether they’re working on the front line or behind the scenes – they are the backbone of our communities and of our nation.
Each day in the schools where our children learn, in the health service which keeps us well, or in the care homes that help us in old age – and plenty of other workplaces – UNISON members make Britain tick.
Representing these remarkable public sector workers is the honour of my life. I’m proud that the union is still going strong despite a near-decade long onslaught against public services –still providing support, education, legal advice, training and representation for our members every single day, including more than a million women.
So many of the great changes won in decades past are victories hard fought for by our union and our movement. Whether it’s the minimum wage or rights for agency workers, maternity pay or paternity leave, annual leave or holiday pay – legal rights regardless of gender, sexuality or race.
Our movement can always be stronger. But no-one can deny that together we are stronger. So this week, let’s celebrate unions. Let’s celebrate UNISON. And let’s celebrate not just the victories of the past, but those that are yet to come.