UNISON vows to keep up the pressure on cost of living crisis

Rising prices and the TUC march and demo on 18 June dominate union’s NEC meeting

The cost of living crisis, the 18 June TUC-organised demonstration in response to it, and the continuing ‘partygate’ shame of the Westminster government dominated discussions at UNISON’s NEC today.

Taking place on the day Sue Gray’s report was published, NEC members repeatedly highlighted the contrast between the sacrifices and dedication of public service workers and the disgraceful attitude and behaviour of the Conservative government.

But it was the ongoing cost of living crisis and the union’s response to it that preoccupied much of the meeting, with general secretary Christina McAnea highlighting that the crisis continues to be the major issue for the union.

“It remains the main issue for bargaining groups and a range of additional bargaining materials for branches are being produced,” she said.

“I am continuing to lobby MPs on HMRC mileage rates, and I am speaking out against the government’s inaction at every opportunity. We are planning a roundtable event with politicians, other trade unions, charities, and other organisations to come up with some clear solutions to the cost of living crisis and future joint initiatives.”

The general secretary also talked at length at how the union is currently mobilising members for the 18 June march and demo in London.

The NEC also reflected on how the recent Queen’s Speech, in the words of the general secretary, “demonstrated that the Westminster government is badly out of touch and bereft of ideas when it comes to tackling the most serious cost of living crisis in a generation.

“Instead of urgent intervention,” Ms McAnea continued, “to ease the pain for those struggling to afford food or to heat their homes, we got promises of government legislation focusing on the wrong things at the wrong time.

“There was no bill to boost workers’ rights and no proper plans for social care or ‘levelling-up’. There is still no sign that the Westminster government has grasped the seriousness of the current crisis and this makes it all the more important that we amplify our demands for urgent action at the TUC demonstration on 18 June.”

The NEC also:

  • noted Labour’s good performance at the 5 May elections;
  • discussed final preparations for national delegate conference in Brighton next month;
  • heard that the union had launched a major public petition calling for school meals workers to be brought in-house at every school;
  • discussed a significant strategic organising project that is ongoing across the union;
  • heard that the union had written to the Equality and Human Rights Commission accusing it of misrepresenting the Equality Act 2010 when it comes to long COVID;
  • congratulated members in Sandwell Leisure Trust on being returned to national pay, terms and conditions by the employer;
  • Sent a message of solidarity to rail unions who had successfully voted for industrial action the day before.