Champions campaign helping to turn the tide against austerity

UNISON will continue to ‘harness members voices from the frontline’ in its campaigning

UNISON’s Public Service Champions campaign has played a “key role” in turning the public against the government’s austerity agenda, national delegate conference heard this afternoon.

The campaign aimed at winning public opinion was launched last year, as the UK faced a strong Conservative government intent on more cuts to public services.

“What a difference a year makes,” James Anthony of the NEC told delegates. “Cracks in the austerity agenda are growing wider and deeper.

“The wilful neglect of public services are plain to see in the hung parliament and this coalition of chaos.”

Mr James said that when the snap election was called, Public Service Champions had offered the union a perfect platform to promote its celebration and defence of public services. Billboards and social media were used prominently in the campaign, while the 15-minute care makeover video went viral.

“The public are now rejecting cuts and austerity,” he added. “We can’t take all the credit, but the campaign played a key role.

“There is a sense that we may have turned a corner. But we can only press home the advantage if we keep up the pressure.

“The Lobbying Act has restricted our spending, but also focussed our efforts. We’ve learnt what’s really effective. And we clearly speak with the authentic voice of public service workers.”

Delegates agreed that the union should continue the champions campaign,“harnessing members voices from the frontline” to further communicate to the public the valuable work that members undertake, and the pressures they face.