Union News 29th January 2023

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Welcome to this edition of Union News. News from a labour and trade union perspective. In this edition Luton Airport Workers Secure 30% Pay Rise in Unite win, Amazon Workers in UK Go on Strike for First Time Over ‘Derisory’ 50p Pay Rise, Civil Service Union Prospect Launches Massive Industrial Action Ballot, TUC warns UK government’s proposals won’t end fire-and-rehire, Ambulance Workers Stage Strike Action Over Pay Dispute, as Largest-Ever NHS Strike Looms and Workers at Job Centres and Benefit Offices to Take 20 Days of Strike Action.

Luton Airport Workers Secure 30% Pay Rise in Unite win

Luton airport baggage handlers and check-in staff are set to receive a pay rise of nearly 30% according to the Unite union. More than 200 workers employed by Menzies will receive a 20% pay increase backdated to October and will receive an additional 8.5% pay increase next month. The deal, which was secured during annual pay negotiations without strikes, also includes an improvement in overtime rates. The General Secretary of Unite praised the “excellent deal” and urged workers to join the union to improve their wages and working conditions.

Amazon Workers in UK Go on Strike for First Time Over ‘Derisory’ 50p Pay Rise

Amazon workers in Coventry, UK, have gone on strike for the first time in the United Kingdom, protesting a “derisory” pay rise of just 50 pence an hour. Union GMB, which represents the workers, said the employees “just want a decent standard of living” as inflation tops 10%. The main problem stems from “target-led performance measures” set by an “algorithm,” said GMB senior organiser Amanda Gearing. Amazon said it already offers “competitive pay, comprehensive benefits and excellent opportunities for career growth” and that the vast majority of ambulance call-outs to its buildings are related to pre-existing conditions.

Civil Service Union Prospect Launches Massive Industrial Action Ballot

The Civil Service union Prospect has begun its largest industrial action ballot of members in the public sector in over a decade. The ballot, which will take place over the next few weeks, will ask thousands of workers in government departments and other areas, including the Met Office, Natural England, and the Health and Safety Executive, whether they want to strike in protest of a 3% cap on pay offers, potential job losses, and proposed cuts to redundancy terms. In a recent indicative ballot, members voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action. Despite meeting with ministers, the union claims that there has been no progress on pay for 2022-23 and no indication that next year’s pay round will be any better.

TUC warns UK government’s proposals won’t end fire-and-rehire

The TUC (Trades Union Congress) has warned that the UK government’s “reheated” proposals to prevent another P&O-style scandal won’t deter bad bosses from treating staff like disposable labour. The charge came after Business Secretary Grant Shapps announced plans for a statutory code of practice for employers, which ministers claimed would empower employees to seek compensation from bosses engaging in fire-and-rehire tactics. The TUC says that a statutory code of practice is not going to stop another P&O-style scandal from happening and it won’t deter bad bosses from treating staff like disposable labour.

Ambulance Workers Stage Strike Action Over Pay Dispute, as Largest-Ever NHS Strike Looms

Thousands of ambulance workers across north-west England went on strike for 12 hours starting from midday on Tuesday, in a dispute over pay for overworked NHS staff. The strike was organized by the GMB union, and was followed by industrial action by thousands of GMB, Unite, and Unison ambulance employees on Monday. This strike comes ahead of what could be the largest-ever NHS strike on February 6, when all three unions are set to strike alongside nurses. The workers are demanding a proper pay offer and are accusing the Tory government of endangering patient safety and demonizing them. Labour has called on the government to clarify its commitment to free-at-the-point-of-use healthcare.

And finally,

Workers at Job Centres and Benefit Offices to Take 20 Days of Strike Action

Workers at job centres and benefit offices are set to take 20 days of strike action in an escalation of the bitter dispute over the pay, jobs and conditions of civil servants. Members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) will stage walkouts between February 9 and March 3 at job centres in Liverpool, a Department for Work and Pensions contact centre in Stockport and a benefit centre in Bolton. This comes ahead of a strike on February 1 by 100,000 PCS members in 123 government departments as part of the long-running dispute. PCS is demanding a 10% pay rise to help members through the cost-of-living crisis.

Take to the Streets! Defend the right to strike!

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The UK government is proposing new legislation that will restrict the right to strike for workers in the health, education, transport, and fire and rescue services, as well as border security and parts of the nuclear, radioactive waste and fuel sectors.

This move comes as thousands of workers are being forced to take industrial action to protect their pay, standard of living and the services they provide. However, this legislation is not a solution to the deep-rooted causes of industrial disputes and is a distraction from the government’s inability to effectively manage public services and the economy.

Solidarity, alongside many other unions, is supporting the TUC’s campaign to defend the right to strike, as it is a fundamental right of workers.

The Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill is currently being fast-tracked through Parliament, despite the fact that it is undemocratic and will do nothing to address the issues facing the country, such as high inflation, a pay crisis in the public sector, and an overburdened NHS.

We urge all those concerned with freedom in our country, not just union members, to get out on the streets and protest this attack on individual and collective liberty. Let’s defeat these evil proposals with united action. Join a protest in your area (see the list below).

England

Birmingham: Centenary Square B1 2ND, 12 noon AND Conference and Events Centre, Hill Street, Birmingham, B5 4EW, 6pm

Bournemouth: rally in town square, BH2 6ED, 12 noon

Brighton: assemble at The Level, Brighton, 11am

Bristol: assemble outside Defra Horizon House, BS1 5AH, at 10:45 am to march to College Green, BS1 5TJ. Rally there at 12 noon

Canterbury: assemble Westgate Hall, Westgate Hall Road, Canterbury CT1 2BT, move off at 11.45 for march around city centre and then back to Westgate Hall for rally

Cambridge: assemble at 11am on Parker’s Piece, march to to city centre, followed by a rally Guildhall at 12.30

Carlisle: Carlisle Market Cross, CA3 8JA, 11am

Chesterfield: New Square, Chesterfield, S40 1AH, 11am

Coventry: Broadgate, CV1 1FS, 11am

Derby: Cathedral Green, Derby, DE1 3AF, 10am

Dover: assemble Migrants Memorial on Dover Seafront near to Eastern Docks and march to Royal Cinque Ports Yacht Club, 4-5 Waterloo Crescent Dover CT16 1LA for 10:45am rally

Exeter: assemble at Bedford Square, EX1 1LR at 10:30 for march to Corn Exchange, EX1 1BW for rally at 11:30am

Hastings: march from Hastings pier TN34 1JY, 11am

Hull: Hull Interchange, HU1 3UF, rally at 11am, march at 11:30am.

Halifax: Halifax Industrial Museum, HX1 1QG rally at 10:30 am,

Leeds: meet at 11:30 for march from Leeds Town Hall, LS1 3AD at 12 noon followed by rally at 1pm back at Leeds Town Hall.

Liverpool: assemble 12noon at the Metropolitan Cathedral, march at 12.15 with a rally at The Adelphi Hotel at 12.45pm

London: assemble at 11 am for march from Portland Place W1A 1AA, to a rally in Westminster Central Hall.

Manchester: rally at St Peter’s Square, M2 5PD at 12:30pm, short march at 1pm and second part of rally back at the Square.

Newcastle, assemble Civic Centre, Newcastle NE1 8QH 11:30am, march starts at 12 noon to Greys Monument, NE1 5AF for rally at 12:30pm.

Nottingham: assemble 11am for a march through city centre from meet point of Nottingham Bus Station concourse, Carrington Street to indoor rally at 12:30 in Albert Hall, North Circus Street.

Oxford: march and rally, assemble at 12 noon, Wesley Memorial Church, New Inn Hall Street, Oxford OX1 2DH.

Peterborough: assemble 11am at Stanley Recreation Ground, march at 11.30am to Cathedral Square

Plymouth: Guildhall Square on Royal Parade, PL1 2BJ, 12 noon.

Portsmouth: assemble Portsmouth Guildhall Square, PO1 2AB. March leaves at 12:20pm for route round the city centre and returns to Guildhall Square at approx 12:50pm for closing rally.

Reading: West end (KFC end) of Broad Street, Reading, RG1 2AP ending with a rally in Town Hall Square, 12 noon

Sheffield: assemble 12noon at Devonshire Green S1 4GT for march to rally at Sheffield City Hall, S1 2JA at 1pm.

Southend: outside Odeon cinema, 12 noon.

Weymouth: Jubilee Clock Tower, Weymouth, DT4 7BE, 12 noon.

Wokingham: assemble 11am at Wokingham Town Hall, Market Place, RG40 1AS

York: Exhibition Square, YO30 7BL, 12 noon

Scotland

Dundee: City Square, Dundee, DD1 3BA, 1pm

Edinburgh: The Mound, EH2 2EL, 12 noon

Glasgow, Buchanan Street steps, G2 3NY, 12 noon AND Glasgow indoor rally, ticketed (free), Trades Hall of Glasgow, 85 Glassford Street, G1 1UH 7pm. Tickets here

Wales

Cardiff: HMRC building, CF10 1EP, 11:30am

Swansea: Castle Square, Swansea, SA1 1DW, 12 noon

Strike to save the NHS!

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The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has announced new strike dates for February 6th and 7th, and the GMB union has announced that many of its paramedic staff will join them on the first of those two days.

Unite members across five ambulance trusts in England and Wales are also now set to go on strike on February 6th, as unions increase pressure on the government to address years of pay cuts and worsening patient safety.

The government has expressed disappointment but willingness to engage in pay talks with the unions. Unite general secretary Sharon Graham has criticized the government for demonizing ambulance workers and not taking action to protect the NHS.

Here at Solidarity, as our name suggests, we believe in the value of solidarity.

Showing solidarity with striking nurses is important for several reasons.

Firstly, nurses, like other healthcare workers, are on the frontlines of the healthcare system and are essential in providing care and treatment to patients.

They have been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic, often putting their own health at risk, and deserve fair pay for the work that they do. Secondly, the fight for fair pay for nurses is not just about them, but about ensuring that the healthcare system as a whole is properly funded and can provide the best possible care for patients.

When nurses and other healthcare workers are underpaid and overworked, it can lead to burnout and a lack of staff, which can negatively impact patient care.

Furthermore, the struggle for fair pay for nurses is connected to the broader struggle for workers’ rights and a fair economy.

The government’s refusal to provide fair pay for nurses is part of a larger agenda of austerity and cutting public services.

By showing solidarity with striking nurses, other workers are standing up for the right to fair pay and against the erosion of workers’ rights and the public sector.

Finally, showing solidarity with striking nurses can help to build a stronger and more united workers’ movement. When workers from different sectors and industries come together to support each other, it makes it harder for the government and employers to divide and conquer. By standing in solidarity with striking nurses, other workers are sending a message that they will not be divided and will fight together for fair pay and better working conditions for all.

There are two things you can do right now:

  1. Join a picket line if you can and show you care about the NHS and fair pay for staff.
  2. Donate to the RCN Strike Fund

The RCN has launched a donation page for members of the public to contribute to our strike fund after people have got in touch to ask how they can help support strikes in a practical way.
During strikes, nursing staff forfeit a day’s wage for each day of action they take part in. To protect them from the financial impact of this fight for patient safety, they can receive £50 for each day they strike through the RCN strike fund.

Members of the public can now show their support for nursing strike action by donating to the fund.

Pat Cullen of the RCN said: “We’re all paying the price for the UK government’s failure to pay nursing staff fairly. The NHS is in crisis and nursing staff have been forced to strike to protect our profession and our patients.

“More than a decade of real-terms pay cuts have put the nursing profession and safe patient care at risk. Shifts are understaffed, tens of thousands of posts are vacant and nursing staff are struggling to keep afloat.

“Governments think if they ignore nursing staff for long enough our members will be forced to give in. But we know something they don’t. We know that the public is with us, shoulder to shoulder with nursing staff.”

Union News 21 January 2023

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In this weeks programme: NHS Staff Show Solidarity and Determined Mood in Strikes for Fair Pay, Trade unionists gather to oppose war, Wales First Minister Warns Anti-Strike Laws Will “Inflame” Public Sector Disputes, Rail Workers Should Reject Insulting Pay Offer from Employers and Education Unions in Scotland Demand “Substantially Improved” Pay Offers.

NHS Staff Show Solidarity and Determined Mood in Strikes for Fair Pay

NHS staff are in a determined mood, as seen by the nurses’ strikes on Wednesday and Thursday, ambulance strikes in Wales on Thursday, and more ambulance action set for England next week. There is a lot of public support for the strikes, with passing vehicles honking in support of the strikers. The RCN union has responded to the nurses’ anger by naming new dates for strike action, with 12-hour strikes planned for both 6 and 7 February. The GMB union for ambulance workers will also be striking on 6 February, potentially leading to a major NHS strike that day. There is also a feeling of solidarity among the strikers, with many saying that NHS workers “simply have to be part of” the TUC day of action on 1 February to defend the right to strike.

Trade unionists gather to oppose war

Trade unionists have gathered in London for a conference on strengthening voices for peace in the labour movement. The World at War – a Trade Union Issue has been called by the Stop the War Coalition in response to efforts to silence peace campaigners in the Labour Party and a narrow vote to support increased arms spending by the Trades Union Congress. Speakers included National Education Union joint general secretary Kevin Courtney, Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan, RMT president Alex Gordon, Fire Brigades Union officer Riccardo la Torre and Warren Smith of the Maritime Union of Australia, among others. The conference focused on reaffirming that war is a trade union issue, making opposition to war more central to trade union activity and reversing TUC policy on increasing arms expenditure.

Wales First Minister Warns Anti-Strike Laws Will “Inflame” Public Sector Disputes

Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford, who is also the leader of the Labour party in Wales, has warned that new anti-strike laws proposed by the UK government will “inflame disputes across the public sector”. This statement comes as workers and their trade unions across Britain prepare for a day of action against the new laws on February 1st. Drakeford criticized the proposed laws, saying that they will restrict workers’ right to take industrial action and further inflame current disputes in the public sector. Unison, a public sector union, has also spoken out against the laws, with more than 90% of health worker members in Wales voting for industrial action in a pay dispute.

Rail Workers Should Reject Insulting Pay Offer from Employers

Rail workers across 13 train operating companies in the UK have been offered a pay rise of 5% or a £1,750 increase for last year and 4% for this year by the Rail Delivery Group, the employers’ representative. The offer also includes the closure or “repurposing” of all station ticket offices, mandatory Sunday working, a two-tier pay structure for new hires and “flexible working” for all employees. The offer also includes worse holidays and sick pay. The previous offer was rejected by the RMT union as it was below inflation and included attacks on working conditions. The RMT leaders are considering the new offer and have not yet made a decision. Many rail workers are calling for the RMT leaders to reject the offer and to prepare for escalation of strikes.

Education Unions in Scotland Demand “Substantially Improved” Pay Offers

Education unions in Scotland have warned that only “substantially improved” pay offers will end the ongoing teaching strikes. The Scottish negotiating committee for teachers, which is made up of SNP ministers, local authority leaders, and trade unions, met again today to discuss the issue. The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), the largest union for educators in Scotland, welcomed further discussions but emphasized that a failure to improve on last year’s below-inflation 5% wage increase for most workers would result in continued strikes. The EIS launched 16 days of rolling strikes earlier this week, with staff in two council areas striking each day. Teachers who walked out in Angus and East Dunbartonshire today are demanding a 10% wage increase to match inflation.

We hope you have enjoyed this edition of Union News. Please consider subscribing. Music in this broadcast is by Tim Bragg.

Tim is a multi-instrumentalist & singer-songwriter. You can hear his songs here:
Video credit: Roving Reporter

Nurses stand strong on picket lines

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Thousands of nurses in England went on strike for a second time yesterday , with picket lines reported to be large and lively and receiving massive public support. The nurses, who are members of the RCN union, are fighting for a larger pay rise than the £1,400 a year below inflation payment that was imposed on them by the government last year. The strikes are part of an effort to defend the NHS, which is currently facing a daily struggle. Activists from other unions such as NEU, Unite, RMT and UCU also came to show their support for the striking nurses.

Our video shows a lively picket braving freezing weather at UCU in London.

Video credit: RovingReporter

Unions Must Fight Back Against Mainstream Media Bias

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Unions play a vital role in ensuring that the rights and interests of workers are protected. However, in order for unions to be effective, they must be able to communicate their message to the public. Unfortunately, relying on the mainstream media to disseminate information about unions can be problematic.

One major issue with relying on the mainstream media to put union message across is that the media often presents a biased perspective on labour issues. Mainstream news outlets are often owned by large corporations, which have a vested interest in portraying unions in a negative light. As a result, the media often focuses on stories that highlight conflicts between unions and management, while downplaying the positive contributions that unions make to the economy and society.

Another problem with relying on the mainstream media to disseminate information about unions is that the media often oversimplifies complex issues. For example, the media may portray a labour strike as a simple dispute between management and workers, rather than as a complex struggle over economic and political power. This oversimplification can lead to misunderstandings and a lack of support for union efforts.

Given these issues, it is essential that unions do not rely solely on the mainstream media to put their message across. Instead, unions must support efforts to build a counter media that can provide a more accurate and nuanced perspective on labour issues. This might include supporting alternative news outlets, such as labour newspapers or online publications, that are more likely to be sympathetic to union issues. Additionally, unions can use social media and other digital platforms to communicate directly with workers and the public, bypassing the mainstream media altogether.

Unions play an important role in protecting the rights and interests of workers. However, to be effective, unions must be able to communicate their message to the public. Relying solely on the mainstream media to disseminate information about unions is problematic due to bias and oversimplification of complex issues. Therefore, Unions must support efforts to build a counter media that can provide a more accurate and nuanced perspective on labour issues. This will help to ensure that the public has a better understanding of the vital role that unions play in our society.

Solidarity’s is assisting with Union News, a weekly podcast, and it’s a great example of how unions can support the development of a counter media. By assisting this podcast, Solidarity helps reach a wider audience, and provide a platform for discussing important labor issues in a more engaging and accessible way than traditional news outlets.

In addition to Union News, supporting established ventures like the Morning Star daily newspaper and Workers magazine is also important. Both of these publications have a long history of providing a pro-labour perspective on news and issues, and they can serve as valuable resources for union members and supporters.

New Anti-Strike Legislation: A Direct Attack on Workers’ Rights and Democracy

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The government’s new anti-strike legislation, which aims to enforce “minimum service levels” in key public sectors including the NHS and schools, has met with fierce opposition from unions and criticism from experts.

The proposed Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill is being seen as a direct attack on workers’ fundamental human rights and an affront to parliamentary democracy. The Bill will apply to strikes in six essential sectors: health services, fire and rescue services, education services, transport services, nuclear decommissioning, and border security. These are the same six services identified in the previous Trade Union Act 2016, which already imposed strict requirements for strike mandates to have the support of at least 40% of those eligible to vote as well as a majority of those voting.

The Bill goes even further, however, by removing the requirement for minimum service levels (MSLs) to be negotiated by agreement between trade unions and employers, and instead gives complete discretion to the Secretary of State, Grant Shapps, to set the MSLs in each of the six services. This means that the MSLs can be set at such a high level that any strike will be rendered largely ineffective.

Furthermore, the Bill is a worrying symptom of how the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has become not only the friend of employers but also an instrument of the coercive state. Despite the government’s claims of respecting the right to strike, the Bill effectively renders the right to strike to be nothing more than a right to make a meaningless protest. The Bill also includes disproportionate sanctions to ensure obedience to the will of the state, further undermining workers’ rights.

Under the new law, bosses in health, education, fire, ambulance, rail and nuclear commissioning will be able to sue unions and sack employees if minimum levels are not met. Union members who refuse to work under the minimum service requirement could lose their jobs. The new law will also back employers bringing an injunction to prevent strikes or seeking damages afterwards if they go ahead.

This Bill is a dangerous and undemocratic attempt to silence workers and deny them their basic human rights. It must be opposed by all those who value democracy and workers’ rights. Keir Starmer, the leader of the opposition, has pledged to repeal the anti-trade union legislation if Labour forms the next government.

Union News 7th January 2023

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Union News is a source for news and information about the UK union and labour movement. It is dedicated to providing accurate and unbiased coverage of these issues, which are often overlooked or misrepresented in mainstream media. By sharing links and following Union News on platforms like Spotify, Amazon Music, and YouTube, you can help to support this alternative source of information and build a counter media that accurately represents the experiences and concerns of working people. If you have news to share, Union News welcomes submissions and encourages you to get in touch. You can contact Union News here: UnionNewsServices@protonmail.com

The music featured in Union News is created by Tim Bragg, a talented multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter. You can listen to his songs on YouTube and other streaming services.

Union News 30th of December 2022

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Click on the image to hear podcast

In this edition of Union News we look at predictions about the UK cost-of-living crisis, the first national rail strike by rail cleaners, the restoration of the whip by the Scottish National Party to the disgraced MP ‘Groper Grady’, a big win for Merseyside bin workers and firefighters pay.

UK cost-of-living crisis predicted to continue despite end of double-digit inflation

According to the Resolution Foundation, in 2023, the UK can expect to see an end to double-digit inflation, but many families’ incomes are predicted to fall by as much as they did in 2022 due to rising energy bills, tax bills, and mortgage payments. Low-income families are three times more likely to lack confidence in their financial situation over the next three months, according to a YouGov survey. The Foundation attributes this to the precarious employment conditions that exist in sectors that have been privatized or deregulated, leading to a general reduction in wages. To address this, the Foundation suggests that the government regulate energy prices, raise benefits and pensions, end pay constraints in the public sector, and impose windfall taxes on profits. However, it is uncertain whether these measures would be implemented by the current Tory government or a potential Labour administration.

UK railway cleaners to launch first national strike on New Year’s Eve

Railway cleaners in the UK will go on strike for the first time on New Year’s Eve, demanding a wage of £15 per hour, sick pay, decent holidays, and pensions. The industrial action, led by transport union RMT, will involve more than 1,000 contracted-out cleaners at private contractors for several rail operators, including Avanti West Coast, GWR, LNER, and TransPennine Express. ISS cleaners on London’s Dockland Light Railway will also strike over pay, rosters, and working conditions. The strikes follow the suspension of planned action last week and come amid a lack of progress in the dispute.

SNP restores party whip to MP found to have sexually harassed teenage employee

The SNP has restored the party whip at Westminster to Patrick Grady, a former chief whip who was found to have sexually harassed a teenage party employee. Grady had resigned from the party last summer following the ruling by the Commons authorities, but the SNP’s member conduct committee only imposed a six-month suspension of his party membership, which has now expired. Grady has therefore had his membership of the SNP reinstated and regained the SNP Westminster group whip. This move has prompted criticism of the party’s handling of the issue and its commitment to taking such issues seriously. Pat Harrington, General Secretary of Solidarity union, said: “The SNP are ‘woke’ in their speeches but act tribally to protect their own. Mr Grady was given, in effect, a slap on the wrist. What kind of message does this send out to others? It’s amazing that this is still happening after MeToo.”

Merseyside refuse workers win pay increase following strike action

Refuse workers in Merseyside, England, have won a pay increase of 15% after going on strike earlier this month. The deal, which covers more than 200 workers employed by Biffa on an outsourced contract for Wirral Council, will be backdated to April and includes a commitment to boost pay again in April 2023 by between 7% and 9% depending on inflation rates. The pay increase was secured through the efforts of the workers’ trade union, Unite.

Firefighters in UK paid up to six times less than their bosses, says union

Firefighters in the UK are paid up to six times less than their bosses, according to the Fire Brigades Union (FBU). Freedom of Information requests revealed that chief fire officers earned an average of £148,000 per year, with the highest salary being £206,000. This is significantly more than the salary of an ordinary firefighter. The FBU also reported that after a decade of below- or at-inflation pay settlements, many firefighters and control staff are relying on foodbanks and taking on additional jobs to make ends meet. The union is currently holding a ballot on whether to go on strike over pay, after rejecting a 5% pay offer. The result of the ballot will be announced on today.

Union News brings you news of the UK union and labour movement. We can’t rely on the UK media to give unbiased accounts on these issues. Please support Union News by sharing links and following us on streaming platforms such as Spotify, Amazon Music and YouTube. Thanks for your support in building the counter media. If you have news to share please get in touch.

Episode Notes

Our music is provided by Tim Bragg. Tim is a multi-instrumentalist & singer-songwriter. You can hear his songs here: – or any streaming service or on YouTube.

If you have news, video footage, pictures etc that you want featured in Union News please email: UnionNewsServices@protonmail.com

New Year Message from the President of Solidarity Union

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2022/2023 Presidential Message from Glen Nicklasson

Please click on image above t hear this as a podcast.

As 2022 draws to an end it would appear the year was a year of Good byes – Good bye to Covid 19, Goodbye to Queen Elizabeth II and goodbye to two Conservative Prime Ministers. This year people have been able to travel freely, in contrast to last year, where people’s liberties were largely restricted based on vaccine status.

It serves as an important reminder how Liberty and Freedom can be swiftly taken from us and we should protect freedom vigorously. Whether you’re a Royalist or not, I think you would’ve been as shocked and saddened by the sudden death of our longest ever serving Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. She sat as Head of State for seventy years and recently celebrated her Platinum Jubilee. She will be sorely missed by the establishment and many of her subjects throughout the Commonwealth and beyond. She was Interred with her late beloved husband the Duke of Edinburgh.

Did 2022 witness the beginning of the end of the Conservative Party? Let’s hope so. After Boris Johnson resigned in the face of a lying allegation, the Tories subjected the British public to a Tory leadership contest with Liz Truss coming out on top. Unfortunately for Liz She was almost immediately replaced by Rishi Sunak. Rishi Sunak is a Billionaire who once claimed in an interview that he had Working-Class friends. Mr. Sunak realised his mistake and retracted the false statement immediately.

The Year has ended on a positive note for the Trade Union movement with many Unions calling for Strikes in the wake of the Cost of Living Crisis. There have been walkouts by the RMT, CWU, RCN and many more. We in Solidarity support these strikes and urge you to support those taking Industrial action in any way you can. Do not cross a picket line, honk your horn in support if you see workers on a picket l ine and support local your local strikes on social media etc. Solidarity the Union looks forward to representing all working people in 2023 and would like to remind you to support each other at work. Together we are Strong!