Last week, we launched the latest phase of our cost of living crisis campaign, Together We Rise. Turning outwards to the wider public, we’re bringing the message home to as many people as possible, that poverty is a choice made by the powerful.
You might have seen one of our poster billboards, shared some of our campaign graphics or our video on social media – or even encouraged one of your friends or colleagues to sign our petition calling on the prime minister to end the pay crisis. A pay crisis caused by the current government in Westminster.
After a summer of political inertia – and a chaotic recent few weeks since Liz Truss became the new PM – it’s clear that working people will ultimately pay for the mistakes of Truss and her chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng.
News reports today give us a worrying picture. Banks are setting aside more money for defaults as people can’t pay their mortgage after interest rate hikes, there’s a £62bn black hole in the UK’s finances and average pay has fallen by 4% in real terms. We know that percentage is greater for public service workers.
UNISON members are facing the reality of falling pay and that’s why industrial action ballots and strike action are intensifying.
So as Parliament returns today, now is the time to grab their attention. There is more we can do to get politicians to be on the side of working people. We’re asking all our members to lobby their MPs, either at their constituency surgery this Friday 14 October, or at our mass lobby of Parliament in London on 2 November.
It doesn’t matter what party your MP is from, we want all political parties to hear from public service workers about how the pay crisis is affecting them.
And if you’re one of the half a million UNISON members being balloted for strike action in the Environment Agency, NHS or probation, make sure you vote. Together we can make a difference and help create a better life for so many people.
These are the important steps you can take to play your part in our movement. And as UNISON’s general secretary, I’m speaking up for public services and our fantastic UNISON members at every opportunity – to the government, to the Labour Party, on the media and on the picket line.