Local government workers are ‘everyday action heroes’

They don’t do it for the prestige, they do it for the difference they can make to people’s lives, every day – its time to recognise their superhuman efforts

Christina McAnea, arms folded, in front of conference stage - 'Fighting for our future'

Every day, everyone’s lives are affected by local council staff. Our communities depend on the 1.3 million local government workers who spend their working lives looking out for others.

We may not see them when they’re working through the night, caring for older and disabled people, or at the crack of dawn when they’re clearing up our streets and parks to keep the environment clean and healthy, but the impact of their work is there when we wake up.

We don’t get to see every minute they dedicate to educating our children and keeping them safe, or to running council services like housing, libraries, and social services, but we rely on them to keep the cogs turning.

We entrust them with some of the most precious people in our lives, and the most precious places, because they are our every day heroes.

When I speak to our members working for local authorities across the UK, they tell me that, although they love their work, they often feel taken for granted. They feel like the silent workers who are often on the sharp end of criticism from the public.

They don’t do it for the prestige, they do it for the difference they can make to people’s lives, every day – but greater understanding from the public would go a long way to making their jobs easier.

It’s UNISON’s job to make sure their work is valued and understood. It’s also our job to make sure they’re treated fairly at work and we campaign all year round to protect the public services they provide.

So today, we’re launching lifelike action figures of crossing warden Sandy, librarian Emma, residential care worker Denise and refuse worker Richard, to recognise the ‘everyday action heroes’ that are our local council workers.

Every community has a Sandy, an Emma, a Denise, and a Richard dedicating their working lives to keeping everyone safe and supported. We saw the extent of their dedication through Covid-19. They went to work – exposed to risks – so that others could stay at home safely. Their colleagues are heroes too, and as Denise says in the video, UNISON makes members feel like they’re not alone.

With these action figures, we hope we can encourage the public, and politicians, to appreciate their superhuman efforts, just as much as UNISON does.

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