ADDRESS OF GLEN NICKLASSON (PRESIDENT OF SOLIDARITY) TO THE 2022 AGM

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“Greetings, good afternoon, Comrades. Thank you all for attending this year’s AGM. Once again, we were unable to meet in person due to Covid restrictions. Restrictions that have all but died out recently so hopefully we can have a normal AGM next year.

A very big thank you to the General Secretary for his Annual Report, to those who proposed and seconded motions and to all our hard working reps without whom there would be no union. And let’s just ponder on that word for a moment; “union”. We are UNION. We are a trade union. We represent member’s individually and collectively and have been for a decade and a half and we are determined to continue to do so. We will continue to fight on issues such as low pay, bullying, zero-hour contracts, fire and re-hire and discrimination.

If there’s one form of discrimination that we detest then that is discriminating against one’s right to be in a Trade Union. It is a fundamental Human Right to organise and to be a member of a trade union and we will fight for that right to continue.

Much has changed in the last three weeks. The media has all but forgotten about Covid 19 and its variants and its obsession persuading us all to get jabbed, double-jabbed and boosted-up! The media is now obsessed with the Russia-Ukraine war. We condemn all war as is the case it’s always the young working class that end up on the battlefield spilling blood and guts. Not to mention women and children that get caught up and get labelled as collateral damage. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the peoples of Ukraine, including the ethnic Russians, and to those caught up in the two dozen other conflicts in the world that rarely get a mention.

Members will have noticed that there have been large price rises this year.

Electricity, fuel, gas, just to name a few. Many of these companies behind the price rises used to be owned by the British state but are now foreign owned and people are beginning to ask why they were sold off.

Surely, we would be better off if we owned gas, electricity, and water companies to give us more control on prices? Which leads us to another question: why are we so reliant ton foreign energy when we have our own coal and gas reserves?

We should encourage our government to explore all options concerning energy with the intention of becoming self-sufficient in providing our own energy needs.

This would undoubtedly create jobs, which is good news for the British Worker as many of these jobs will be highly skilled and well paid. Where will we get these workers from, I hear you ask? As we are all aware many sectors are experiencing a labour shortage.

For far too long successive British governments looked for labour abroad.

We encourage the government to look closer to home when looking for labour. There is a working-age population of 41 million in the UK, 25% of which do not work. You do the math, that’s 10 million people that are not working in the UK.

I’m sure many of those people are unable to work due to genuine ill health, etc., and I’m also sure that many would be enticed back into work with the right prospects, right training, and right pay.

Together with the current skills/worker shortage there’s never been a better time to join a union.

Join a fighting union. Join Solidarity.

Recruit your friends and family. Together we are strong.”

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