“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.”

We demand a 4 day week!


The Covid pandemic has changed a lot about the world of work not least of which is the widespread adoption of the 4 day or 32 hour working week with no reduction in pay.

Following successful trials of reduced working weeks in Iceland countries including Scotland, Spain and Ireland are planning to start their own trials.

Other countries considering a four-day week include Germany, Belgium, Portugal, and the USA, as reported on the Union News website.

In the UK the 4 Day Week Campaign has been leading the way in calling for a shorter working week and it is keen to work with trade unions and add their members’ voices to the call for a four-day week.

Solidarity is fully behind the reduction in the working week without loss of pay. It would be a step forward for workers to have more time to spend at rest, leisure, with friends and family or undertaking sport or hobbies.

A better work-life balance for workers also benefits employers as rested employees usually are more motivated and productive and have less time absent through illness.

By David Andrews

Bring back British Rail!


Rail passengers in England and Wales have just been hit with a 3.8% rise in fares which, according to the Rail Delivery Group, is the highest rise since 2013 reported the Morning Star newspaper.

This is based on the July 2021 retail price index inflation rate plus 1% and has the effect of increasing the price of an annual season ticket between London and Brighton by £194 and between Manchester and Liverpool by £105.

Reaction to this fares hike from unions has been swift: Manuel Cortes of the TSSA said “It’s almost as though ministers want to force people off our railways and into cars in an effort to speed up our climate crisis

RMT General secretary Mick Lynch said: “The price of profiteering means instead of having fairer fares taxpayers are paying massive dividends to private rail companies.”

The RMT also points out that research indicates that rail journey costs have risen by four times that of car journeys over the last decade.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said, “It is vital that our rail system recovers the passengers it lost at the start of the pandemic, especially if we want to keep to our climate commitments”.

The campaign group “We own it” has called for the rail companies to be brought back under public ownership and says that doing so could save £1bn per year which is enough to cut rail fares by 18% or build 100 miles of new track.

Solidarity believes that public transport should be run for the benefit of passengers in a safe and affordable way. We say: “Bring back British Rail!”.

Ordinary people are being hit with cost of living rises in so many areas of life just now and to have an increase in transport costs on top of everything else is a going to be a huge blow to the many people who depend on the train to get to work and visit friends and family.

By David Andrews

Small business and union leaders call for sick pay reform

Union and business leaders have issued a joint plea to the Government to improve sick pay and help employers deal with staff absences.

The TUC and Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) have written to the Chancellor urging him to create an “effective” sick pay system to underpin the economic recovery and to make sure all employers would be able to afford it. Unions have been stepping up campaigns for better sick pay, arguing that two million low paid workers, mainly women, do not qualify because of their low earnings.

The FSB revealed that the average cost of sickness absence to small employers was just over £3,500 last year. TUC General Secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “No-one should be forced to choose between doing the right thing and self-isolating or putting food on the table, but millions of low-paid workers have faced this impossible choice.

“Two years into the pandemic, it’s time ministers stopped turning a blind eye to this obvious problem and fixed our broken sick pay system.

“Delivering sick pay for all would be an important first step, but with statutory sick pay at a measly £96 a week, we need ministers to increase it to real living wage so people can afford to self-isolate.”

Martin McTague, of the FSB, said: “Small business owners are struggling to find £5 billion a year for sick pay costs. Last year, the Chancellor responded to our calls for help with a reintroduction of the small employer sick pay rebate until the end of March.

Pat Harrington, General Secretary of Solidarity, commented: “It’s good to see unions and small business leaders coming together to lobby the government on this issue. SSP needs to be raised and include those on low pay.

The Cost of Living Crisis


Research by the Living Wage Foundation think tank showed people are increasingly turning to payday lenders and going hungry.

A survey of 1,700 workers showed that one in five were forced to take out a payday loan and around two in five were regularly skipping meals.

It’s a damning look at the reality of Britain—even before the fuel price rises and tax increases scheduled for April.

Katherine Chapman, Living Wage Foundation director, said, “Our polling paints an unsettling picture for millions of people as rising living costs compound the challenges of two years of the pandemic.”

She called for a pay raise for “people that kept us going during the pandemic like cleaners and security guards”.

Dave Innes, head of economics at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said, “It is deeply worrying that so many low-paid workers are already skipping meals and taking on debt.”

He warned that “people on low incomes, who spend a higher proportion of their income on essentials, are at the sharpest end of the crisis.”

In addition to debt and hunger, around a third of workers also reported they couldn’t afford to keep their homes warm this winter. This crisis is set to be compounded by the astronomical rises in energy prices in April.

Energy expert Professor Alex Kemp said global increasing demand for gas meant that prices aren’t set to fall any time soon.

And bosses are already threatening to raise prices in order to protect profits. The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) bosses’ club said its survey of 1,000 businesses revealed a “cost of doing business crisis”.

Some three out of four respondents said they are planning on raising prices and half are cutting costs.

Pat Harrington, General Secretary of Solidarity commented:

“Soaring living costs are a crisis. Rising energy prices will coincide with the planned rise in National Insurance contributions and the freezing of income-tax thresholds in April. Inflation will top 7% by Spring and interest rates are already rising adding to mortgage costs. Higher taxes and energy costs will leave the average family £1300 worse off from April.”

“Sunak’s is offering an insulting £200 energy loan and 80% will receive a £150 Council Tax rebate. These measures will do little to offset the real burden faced by ordinary people.”



The Pandemic panic has slowed, but not ended the tour around Britain of our General Secretary, Pat Harrington.

Next stop is London on Sunday, 20 February 2022.

Pat will be available in Central London from 13:15 to meet members and discuss any cases or issues they have. To book a slot with him please email: with the subject GenSec on tour.



Solidarity was one of the groups that campaigned on the issue of employers stealing the tips meant for workers. Well, that battle has also been won.

The government has announced a proposed new law “as soon as parliamentary time allows” requiring employers to pass all tips to workers.

The legislation will require employers to pass on all tips, gratuities, and service charges to workers without any deductions. Employers will be required to distribute tips in a fair and transparent manner, where employers have control or significant influence over tip distribution.

The proposal also includes a new right for workers to make a request for information relating to an employer’s tipping record, to enable them to bring forward a credible claim to an employment tribunal.



The government has halted controversial plans for the compulsory Covid vaccination of all frontline NHS and social care workers in England, just days ahead of the first jab deadline. Addressing the House of Commons, the health secretary said the government was “looking again” at scrapping the measure in a bid to avoid a damaging confrontation with NHS workers in England. In a U-turn, Sajid Javid said a consultation on ending compulsory vaccinations in health and social care settings will be launched. He has abandoned his requirement that all health workers be vaccinated.

Under a law passed in December last year, every NHS and care worker that has contact with patients had to be double jabbed by April—or face the sack.

Health bosses warned last weekend that so many staff were going to be sacked that services, including maternity wards, would be unsafe.

The Tories forced similar measures on social care in November last year, leading to an exodus of around 40,000 staff. One care charity yesterday accused the government of using the sector as “the trial run for the NHS”. The government relaxed migration rules for care workers, care assistants and home care workers, who have been added to the Home Office’s shortage occupation list. Patrick Harrington commented:

“This was a problem of the Government’s own making. The supposedly “tough on immigration” Tories once again turn to recruiting overseas rather than deal properly with problems at home. A major reason for staff leaving the care sector was the Tory insistence on mandatory vaccination. Coupled with generally poor working conditions and pay enough was enough for many.”

Unions, including Solidarity, opposed the mandatory vaccination policy. Put simply there was no need for compulsion, and we believe people should have the right to choose. Solidarity was gearing up for a fight on this issue as some of our members would have been dismissed. That will not now be necessary as the unions and all those who opposed mandatory vaccines have won! Our union is still involved, however, in cases involving risk assessments and PPE. We also want to see care workers who have left their jobs attracted back by improved pay and conditions. We want an end to the pandemic panic So while the battle for fairness and common-sense continues we can chalk up one victory.

Our Annual meeting – March 12, 2022


Our Annual meeting will be held on Saturday, March 12, 2022.

Due to the Covid situation, as at the 2021 AGM, this year’s event will be entirely online. Drawing on the experience of last year’s successful online AGM, we have sought to use the numerous opportunities created by the online format, rather than simply seeking to replicate the format of previous in-person meetings, whilst meeting all our constitutional requirements.

We have aimed to produce an exciting and accessible day of learning and discussion that can include all members, so whether you have joined us at past AGMs or not, please register to play a part in.

You can:

  • Register to attend
  • Submit a motion or amendment

To attend just send an e-mail to and if you need help drafting a motion for consideration or finding a seconder please let us know. More information will follow regarding the agenda for the meeting.

One status – Worker


A radical and important Bill that will give all workers the same employment rights reached the House of Commons yesterday.

The Status of Workers Bill, proposed by Labour peer John Hendy QC, would bring Britain into line with many other economies by having just one category of worker.

The private members’ Bill passed its third reading in the House of Lords on Friday and will today be introduced into the Commons by Labour MP Andy McDonald.

The Bill will then join a list of other private members’ Bills to be considered by the House.

There are currently five different legal categories of worker — employees, limb workers — or people who have a contract but not a contract of employment, such as Uber drivers — the bogus self-employed, personal service companies and the self-employed.

Self-employed status is unaffected by the Hendy proposals but the Bill aims to merge all other categories and give everyone full access to employment rights in line with many European countries.

Lord Hendy said: “Many employers are using the excuse of the pandemic to worsen the terms and conditions of their workers.”

He added the Bill “would prevent greedy, uncaring employers undercutting good employers who are prepared to allow their staff full employment rights.

It would also stop the worst employers freeloading on the state by using categories for their staff that avoid the employers having to pay National Insurance, tax and pensions contributions.

The proposals were also part of Labour’s 2019 general election manifesto, where working people would have been granted sweeping new employment and trade union rights if Labour had won.

The Bill is supported by the Institute of Employment Rights (IER), of which Lord Hendy is chair.

The IER tweeted on Saturday that it was “delighted that the Bill passed its third reading in the House of Lords.”

Patrick Harrington, General Secretary of Solidarity union, commented:

We’ve long supported the IER on this. The current legal situation is a mess. There should be one category – Worker“.

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) is also supporting what it hailed as a “transformative Bill.”

A TUC spokesperson said: “For too long, false self-employment has been used as a cover to deny workers their basic rights.

The Status of Workers Bill would give the millions of long-exploited gig workers in the UK greater rights.

The gig economy has become emblematic of workers’ rights abuses in the modern economy, but that could be about to change.