General secretary’s blog

Dave Prentis is UNISON’s general secretary – the highest elected post in the union. He speaks up for UNISON members, campaigns for public services and leads the union.

Read Dave’s blog for views on issues UNISON is working on and information on what he’s doing.

Blog: Fighting for a real Living Wage for all, 20 years on from the National Minimum Wage

Twenty years on from the bold, landmark decision to establish a National Minimum Wage, it is time for a new landmark – a real Living Wage for all, regardless of age, that everyone in work can afford to live on. Doing so would meet the original aim of the National Minimum Wage – a decent salary for all. And that is what our union will continue to fight for.

Blog: The government’s Brexit incompetence means no other crisis is receiving scrutiny

This week, MPs will focus once again on trying to resolve Brexit, and rightly so. But when a government is elected, we expect it to be able to govern – not blame all of society’s problems on someone else. Whatever happens with Brexit in the days, weeks and months ahead, we need to see proper attention given to the real, daily problems that working people face – and action taken.

Blog: Why we’re balloting Environment Agency members on industrial action

We’re balloting our Environment Agency members on industrial action. Our members are dedicated and hard-working and devoted to their jobs, keeping us all safe. They feel – with much justification – that the Agency has taken advantage of this dedication.

Blog: It’s time to Bridge the Gap

It will take all of us who care about equality and fairness playing our part to overturn these structural inequalities in our society. Yet the work our union and others have done already shows we can achieve real change.

Blog: When UNISON wins, women win – today, and every day

Today is International Women’s Day, when across the world we celebrate the achievements of women and call for greater equality. As not only the UK’s biggest union for women, but the largest organisation for women in the UK, it’s a big day for UNISON and our members.

Blog: Five weeks is too long

It’s difficult to see how Universal Credit can continue to deliver anything but misery for many. It’s difficult to see how any government – even this one – can justify ploughing on regardless in the face of such overwhelming evidence. The government needs to end the five week wait – but they also need to think again about Universal Credit, full stop, before any more damage is done.

Blog: Northern Ireland must come first, no matter what else is in the Brexit deal

The impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland cannot be reduced to simplistic quotes about borders or considered only as an afterthought. For UNISON – and for Parliament – it must be integral.

Blog: Every victory for our union is a victory for our women members

UNISON women are the majority of our members and the heartbeat of everything that we do – so it’s only right that women are a majority in our democratic structures too. That’s not an accident, that’s integral to how our union works and how our union succeeds.

Blog: Taking the sleep-ins fight to the Supreme Court

We’re fighting every step of the way to win our case on “sleep ins” – making sure care workers who stay overnight with the vulnerable people they care for receive the pay they deserve for their work. And this week we were granted permission to take our case to the Supreme Court.

Blog: There are so many reasons to be proud of UNISON

That’s why this week – Heart Unions week – is so important. In recent years, we’ve taken this week to celebrate the achievements of our union and the wider trade union movement.

Blog: An honour and a privilege to stand with the Birmingham homecare workers

It is incredible to see how these care workers stand together, fight back and strike – day after day after day.

Blog: The UK cannot leave the EU without a deal – the risk is too great

Last week, I met the Prime Minister in Downing Street. I spoke to her at length about the concerns of public service workers. I told her that years of austerity at the hands of her party mean public services are already at breaking point. I told her that the economic calamity of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit would wreck the economy and cause untold damage to services which simply can’t take further pain. I told her about the lives of those UNISON represents – the hospital porters, librarians and school cooks –and the pressure her government has already put them under.

Holocaust Memorial Day – Today we remember those ‘torn from home’

On this day, we remember the precious lives lost and the deep grief felt by those who survived. We honour their memories. We challenge hate. And we remember, as we sit in our homes, with our families and friends, in our communities, the overwhelming loss that the holocaust represents. And we say never again.

Blog: Give further education the funding it so desperately needs

Further education is a vital resource that has given our country and our communities so much. It benefits not just the young but the lifelong learner. And as a union built on the principle of public service, FE represents not only a public service, but a service which has trained and educated millions of public service workers for generations.

Extend article 50 and avoid no-deal Brexit catastrophe

At a time when the far right is on the rise and politicians are viewed with disillusionment and cynicism, it’s vital that the best possible remaining options be pursued, and quickly. There has to be a way to spare the pain of a no-deal catastrophe.