Here comes summer!

June got under way as the end to our Go for Growth month confirmed that UNISON has grown again … we’re positively bustin’ out all over! It’s a good thing we don’t have to buy a new wardrobe, what with all these growth spurts!

The union was among those taking to the streets of London to protest against the state visit of US president, Donald Trump, and it made it clear that the NHS cannot be used “as a bargaining chip” in any post-Brexit trade deal, after Trump told an interviewer that ‘yes’, our health service could be part of a deal.

After Mr Trump executed a (supposed) u-turn, we’re happy that our head of health, Sara Gorton, made a difference.

Cleaners at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow (above) celebrated a cracking victory, when their employer dropped plans to outsource their jobs, after a unified stance by members had brought them to the brink of six days of planned industrial action.

The beginning of June was also important for UNISON’s internal democracy, as the election results for the new national executive council were announced.

This NEC – elected by the members – will hold office and lead the union from now until the end of the 2021 conference.

The summer Silly Season opened early with the Conservative Party leadership election under way, with UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis describing leading contender Boris Johnson’s pledge to cut tax for high earners as “absurd”.

Mr Prentis (above) commented: “Boris Johnson has confirmed he cares about the wealthy few, rather than everyone who relies on public services. A cash giveaway for the richest earners is absurd after 10 years of brutal austerity that has pushed public services to breaking point.

“That money is needed by the nurse who sees our NHS creaking under pressure, the teaching assistant who relies on food banks to feed her family or the care worker who can spend only a few minutes with the vulnerable people she supports.”

Meanwhile, UNISON won another massive legal case in the Court of Appeal which means that NHS workers who do regular overtime will now have these hours taken into account when their holiday pay is calculated.

Making a big difference to the lives of dedicated public service workers – it’s our raison d’être, one might say.

And public service workers need us, because they face no shortage of problems in the workplace. A survey we published in June revealed the dangers faced from weapons by college staff.

Yet at the same time, the government is attacking such dedicated workers: plans could see new higher and further education staff locked out of the local government pension scheme in an “unwarranted and grievous” attack.

As delegates to UNISON’s local government conference in Liverpool heard, library staff are facing the same sort of threats and violence too.

Ah yes – if it’s June, it must mean it’s conference season. This year, the union headed to the home of the Beatles and those Liver birds to set our priorities for the coming year.

First up was local government conference – along with the water, environment and transport conference and the energy conference (you can find reports for all via www.unison.org.uk/news)

Then there was national delegate conference itself – there are full reports online. Tuck in: go on, you know you want to.

And as conference closed, the NEC elected our new presidential team.

Josie Bird (above) is the new UNISON president and she’s joined by Sian Stockholm as senior vice president and James Anthony as junior vice president. They’re going to be a great team.

And June ended with a bang as the University of South Wales became an accredited living wage employer – yet another win for dedicated public service workers.

As was quite clear throughout the month – and as those four lads from Liverpool might have it – all together now, we really can work it out!

The article Here comes summer! first appeared on the UNISON National site.


Published on: July 11, 2019