Celebrating young workers’ month!

To celebrate Young Workers’ Month this November, we asked some of UNISON Eastern’s young members about why they joined

November is young workers’ month – where we aim to raise the profile of young members in UNISON to build an even stronger union.

Young workers aren’t just the future of the trade union movement, they’re our present as well. For UNISON to stay fighting fit and able to defend public services, the people working in them and the people using them, we’ll need to recruit and organise more young workers.

Here’s some of our young activists explaining why they got involved.

A selfie of Jordan

Jordan Watson

I joined UNISON in 2015 when I was working as an apprentice. I had little knowledge of trade unions, but was tempted by a free UNISON squishy pig and a branch offer of free membership to apprentices.

I wanted to learn more and was encouraged to attend the Eastern region young members’ committee. I was super nervous to meet new people in a place I knew little about, however, once I became more involved my confidence and knowledge grew.

That year I attended a branch officer training weekend as well as young members’ weekend where I learnt the fundamentals of UNISON and trade unions. I also had the exciting opportunity to go to Glastonbury with the Workers Beer Company.

Fast forward to today and I am serving my fourth year as chair of the Eastern region young members committee, as well as being the current chair of Norfolk County branch.

With the difficulties of the pandemic and other events, UNISON and trade unions have never been more vital to workers, supporting, protecting and defending workers and their rights.

Cici with a decorated cow artwork

Cici Carey-Stuart

I’ve always been aware of unions, as my mum often told me how the National Union of Teachers (now the NEU) helped her with an unfair dismissal.

Eventually, during Covid, I realised I needed the support of someone else behind me.

I was the only person employed at the charity I work for and I felt like I really needed the reassurance brought by UNISON to back you up, particularly if my employers and I disagreed on Covid safety.

UNISON has become like my HR department, as well as the break-room gossip circle. In such a small workplace I don’t have either of those things at my job.

Cici is posing with Moosha, the LGBT+ community cow in xir local library

Belle sitting down

Belle Bradley

Young workers often get overlooked and underpaid. For me, joining a union was obvious.

You get car insurance, house insurance, phone insurance… so I thought, why not do the same for my job?

I went a step further and joined the young members’ committee so I could campaign for the issues that matter to all of us.