Love is well and truly in the air this week, with trade unionists up and down the country taking the time to remember why they ♥️Unions.
And there are so many things unions have done to earn that love and adoration – fighting for racial equality, equal pay, the minimum wage, annual leave, sick pay, parental leave, pensions, limits on working hours, rights for disabled workers – the list goes on, before even mentioning the key roles trade unionists have played in winning many of the basic democratic freedoms we enjoy today.
But one of the earliest and longstanding concerns of trade unions and one of the most important contributions they’ve made is health and safety at work.
From ventilation in mines to ergonomic management to prevent office workers contracting carpal tunnel syndrome, trade unions are workers’ most important line of defence in the workplace and at UNISON we’re incredibly proud of the health and safety reps we have doing their bit to make sure public services are delivered safely.
Covid has given these reps more work than ever, but it’s thanks to this ready-made defence force that we’ve been able to do a lot to protect workers in our public services.
It’s unions’ collective power that stopped schools fully reopening after Christmas. It’s unions’ collective power that ensured PPE stocks and supply lines were opened to care homes and hospitals. It’s unions collective power that makes workplaces safe.
And when safety threats do still get through, it’s unions that are there to ensure low-paid workers can win compensation claims against bosses that have allowed unsafe environments.
So take the opportunity this Valentine’s to show some love for your union – and do your bit by getting more active so there’s even more to love next year.