The election result on 12 December was really not what we were hoping for. Labour’s vote went back down to 2015 levels but the Conservative party vote increased. Now we have Boris Johnson, a known liar and racist in Downing Street with an increased majority to bulldoze his agenda through parliament.
A word of courage though: our union branch has been through thick and thin, we survived Thatcher in the 1980s so we can survive this! There have already been protests against his government and hopefull the resistance can grow.
We will redouble our efforts around anti racist campaigning and fighting against the new anti union laws that are being proposed. We have been campaigning with Free Our Unions and working with the Fire Brigades Union and others on asserting that trade union rights are human rights and that cause will continue.
If there are any cuts coming our way we are going to work with other UNISON branches to push them back. This government had previously pledged more money for some aspects of local government but it is unlikely that the austerity agenda will be entirely reversed. We know how important local government is for our community and we are determined to fight to protect it.
We will also have to fight for other democratic rights – the proposal to bring in voter ID is designed to disenfranchise a lot of poorer voters when there is no evidence of any widespread voter fraud to necessitate such a policy.
The watchword for the coming years will have to be solidarity. We have to look out for each other and defend our communities and jobs from a Conservative government with links to the far right.
There will be time at our AGM on 05-06 February to discuss our campaigning priorities so please attend if you can.
As we always like to say, being in a union is like signing up to a gym, you can pay your money every month but you only get stronger if you get active!