Sunday, March 01, 2020

Working with Community organisations #UCommunity20

Recruitment and organising: Building Community Links -
Motion 2

Conference, President, John Gray, speaking on behalf of the Community Service Group Executive in favour of motion 2.

My former branch in Tower Hamlets, east London, was affiliated for many years to a Citizen UK organisation, and we actively supported its successful London Living wage campaign for cleaners in Canary Wharf banks, by demonstrating, by lobbying and by protesting together. We did this not to directly benefit our members, since UNISON does not organise cleaners in banks but to show solidarity with exploited low paid workers in our community.

However, in our sector we do organise low paid workers, who are only paid the basic minimum wage, have rubbish contracts of employment, rubbish sick pay and rubbish pensions. In order to fight this we need not only members and the union behind us - we need allies.

We need to campaign against employers who exploit our members and if we can get help from faith groups, statutory bodies, voluntary groups and win victories by doing so, then so much for the better.

I am pleased that as well as campaigning for a living wage, UK Citizens are also campaigning against unfair zero hour contracts, for Community Land Trusts, improving private tenants rights and also truly affordable rents. These are campaigns I am sure all of here can support.

And this Conference, is the most important reason to me, why UNISON Community Members should be campaigning alongside Citizen UK and other similar organisations, since these are trade union issues. 

Low pay, insecure employment and poor housing is our bread and butter and what we cannot do is to stand back and let community organisations do what we should be doing and in fact leading.

So Conference please support this motion and let’s work collectively with partners for the betterment of our members and our communities 

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