Members in Southampton will receive a profile boost tomorrow, when the second of three adverts promoting UNISON will appear in the Daily Echo.
In Southampton, UNISON members range from higher education staff to local government workers to health care providers and everything in between; these adverts were designed specifically to apepal to those groups and encourage union membership across the area.
These workers have two things in common.
Firstly, they’re suffering from the effects of the austerity policies the Tory government has imposed. This means dealing with huge real pay losses and attacks on their terms and conditions. This means the constant fear of redundancy and the stress of providing the same vital services with shrinking resources. This also means - like workers across the UK - attacks on their civil rights thanks to a Trade Union Bill that seeks to deny them the right to defend themselves.
Secondly, like 1.2 million of their colleagues, they’re eligible to join UNISON to protect themselves and the services that everyone in Southampton relies upon. UNISON Southampton District Branch Secretary Hayley Garner explained:
"Our members are fighting back with the help of UNISON. We are dedicated to not only fighting for jobs and pay, but for essential services within the community such as libraries, care homes and community centres. Our members have been able to form a real opposition to cuts in local services by working with other trade unions, community groups and the general public to make a difference."
To coincide with the adverts, Southampton District have been dropping recruitment packs at workplaces near the city centre. This was part of the larger effort to organise against attacks to jobs and services, as the local council struggles to deal with funding cuts imposed by Tory-led Westminster. Earlier this month, Hayley addressed a rally outside the Civic Centre to protest changes to library services that would see 5 libraries close unless community groups ran them on a volunteer basis. This is likely the very thin end of the wedge in terms of cuts to services in Southampton.
Branch Chair and member of UNISON’s National Executive Committee (NEC) Tomasa Bullen explained that the adverts and rally are part of a larger campaign to maintain and strengthen the union across the city:
"It has never been more important to belong to an active, fighting trade union, one which puts the welfare of all of its members at the heart of everything that we do. Here in Southampton, UNISON is visible and active, in the Community and in the workplace striving for a fair and equitable society for all."
If you believe in strong public services and that the staff supplying these services deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, then it’s never been a better time to join UNISON in Southampton.