Gita’s story

My name is Jurgita Paul, I am best known to all as Gita. I was born in Lithuania and came to the UK in 2005 as a 20-year-old looking for work.

I consider myself very fortunate to have found work in the private care sector in which I still work today. I met my husband Simon here in the UK and we are happily married. I am proud to say that he has recently also started working in care.

I have worked with Anchor for the last four years. I started as team leader at a 52-bed residential home and was encouraged by management to become QCF assessor and health and safety coordinator.

After two years I had a great opportunity to become care manager at West Hall (one of Anchor’s new builds) and worked to help to create a strong care team there. I am currently working as care manager at Keswick, a 52-bed residential care home in Leatherhead.

I joined UNISON while working at West Hall. My reason for joining UNISON was simple: I needed extra advice and support when negotiating with my line managers at the time.

I was contacted by UNISON after a while and encouraged to become steward for Anchor colleagues. I said yes and haven’t regretted it since!

I have finished first blended steward training with UNISON this year and have booked myself to do all steward passport courses. I hope to enrol to study an employment law diploma with UNISON his autumn.

I have met lots of great and passionate people from various working environments, including public and private sectors, here at UNISON.

I was tutored by some great tutors from various colleges. I found them to be very knowledgeable, open minded and helpful. The course training materials were up-to-date with current law and were given to take home for future reference.

I couldn’t wait to take advantage to educate myself in current employment law on my last course. I have learned that knowledge is power. Our employer doesn’t have to educate us in the employment law. Without knowing the law how can we be sure we have taken advantage of all our statutory rights?

To sum it up my training with UNISON has been a breath of fresh air and absolutely free!

I would like to encourage all my Anchor colleagues to join UNISON. I have noticed that some of them have no idea what UNISON is and what they do. Some of my colleagues only join UNISON in case they need representation and are afraid to get active. I would like to change that perception.

UNISON is a large trade union which has developed and changed with the times. It has a variety of support groups and offers practical advice and guidance to help members in these uncertain times.

Although UNISON needs our monthly membership fees to fund representatives, training and educational courses it is a minimal fee to pay for the benefits it offers.

Of course, if one joins UNISON and doesn’t use all the benefits and training available one misses out. For me paying UNISON monthly membership fee is as essential as my monthly pension contributions.

I am proud to work with Anchor and I believe it is a good company to work for.

Nevertheless, I am also proud to be a steward with UNISON. I find that both of my roles complement each other and help me and my colleagues to feel more confident and happier in our working environment.

I sincerely believe that for us to be happy working for Anchor (and any employer) we need to communicate with each other and start resolving any issues we might have. It is important that we have open, honest and productive conversations with our employer and work to build trusting and lasting working relationships. Instead of standing on our own, UNISON offers us the power of collective bargaining and resolving those issues together.