I love UNISON. And I am so proud to lead the biggest union in the UK.
It’s Heart Unions this week: a great chance for those of us who are already in a union – and love being in one – to share.
I love the fact that UNISON’s 1.3 million members are keeping the country’s public services running during a pandemic that has lasted close to a year.
I love the fact that UNISON supports and represents so many different workers, doing so many different jobs. It’s not just the obvious health, local government or education workers. It’s the people keeping our communities safe working in our police forces, or the staff helping to keep the lights and the heating on or the buses running.
Our numbers and our variety is our strength.
I also love how many women we represent – more than any other organisation in the UK, never mind any other union.
I’m proud of our equality work, our democracy, our organising, our campaigning, our health and safety work and our representation.
I’m proud of how we develop and nurture our members through the courses we run and I love how we practically support members when times are tough through our charity, There for You.
There are so many things to love and be proud of about this union.
But there are also so many battles we need to continue to fight. And I know that we’ll win more of them and we will achieve more as a union, together.
That’s why heart unions week isn’t just a bit of silly window-dressing, a self-indulgent chance to say how great we are.
It’s about recruiting. The more people that are in our union, the louder our voice will be with employers and the government. The better we can demonstrate the importance of public services and represent their diverse and dedicated workforce.
The safer we can make workplaces and working conditions all over the UK. And the stronger we can make all our rights at work – not just defending them but progressing them.
So if you’re not in a trade union already, it’s never been more important to join one. If you work in public services, join UNISON.
And if you’re already one of us, shout about it this week, more than ever.