Once again, the last few weeks have been very challenging, but it’s brought out the very best in our public service. It was good see UNISON members across our public services taking up the challenge to jab, jab and jab once more. An amazing response in such challenging circumstances.
Of course, the Government will try and lay claim to the success of the vaccine roll out but the real credit must go to community pharmacies, pop up vaccination hubs, public health teams and, of course, our amazing NHS.
It’s our public services working together in partnership (not parties) that delivered the support and protection our communities needed. Achievements secured despite, not because, of our political leaders.
This year our 54 UNISON branches that make up UNISON East Midlands, alongside more than 1000 local workplace reps, have been amazing. They’re always there, ever prepared to help, they never shy away from standing up to bad bosses, true champions of fair employment and safe workplaces. As we approach the end of 2021, I want to say thank you for everything they do for our union.
The same goes for our paid officials in the region, our professional staff without whom our Union would never fulfil its potential.
UNISON has always been a confident union we look forward to the future with optimism, prepared to on the big issues and secure where we can a better deal at work for our members. Next year will be no different, our campaigns on pay will be all important, with inflation on the rise the cost of living is becoming more expensive. Working people across the East Midlands deserve a decent pay rise.
We will continue to make the call for more investment in our public services. After a decade or more of cuts there is no give in the system, every service has its challenges, every challenge has the potential to become a crisis.
As we emerge from the pandemic, we must demand a decade on investment to put right the problems in our community. Only by investing in the NHS will tackle the growing waiting lists. Our kids education will only improve if more resources are available in the classroom. Towns and cities across the UK can only regenerate if we have strong Councils with the resources to make a difference, and if the Police are to keep our streets safe, they need more not fewer police staff.
And our most vulnerable citizens will never feel truly valued unless the care they receive is delivered by great people who receive a fair day’s pay. Government can make a difference. Now is the time to invest in our services, to invest in our communities, so that no part of our region gets left behind, and invest in our people, so that we all have a stake in society, not just those at the very top.
If you’re on shift over the holidays, please stay safe. From me and mine to you and yours have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.