New banner raised in Cambridgeshire

John Toomey and Rob Turner hold the new banner

Cambridgeshire County UNISON has unfurled a new branch banner for the first time in a demonstration outside the council offices.

Emblazoned with the word “Solidarity,” it’s fitting that the banner’s first outing was at a Fire Brigades Union rally, with the branch showing UNISON’s support for a campaign against the dangerous watering down of safety standards.

“Solidarity forms the basis of our movement,” explains Cambridgeshire County branch secretary Rob Turner. “It brings us together and allows us to act as one in mutual support.”

Underneath this watchword, and the instantly recognisable UNISON logo, is an image of six workers linking arms — a nod to famous images of the Tolpuddle Martyrs, the six Dorset farm labourers transported for forming a union before winning passage back to Britain thanks to unprecedented trade union campaigning in the 1830s.

The branch has updated the image to be more representative of UNISON membership and the communities we serve — rather than six white men, the banner depicts women and Black workers too.

At the bottom is the slogan “All wealth is the product of our labour” a variation of 17th-century English philosopher John Locke’s assertion that “all wealth is the product of agricultural labour.”

On its reverse, the banner proudly proclaims: “People before profit.”

The banner is the handwork of Sew Angry, a Cambridge-based collective of female artists using textiles as a medium of protest.

Rob explains: “As the banner was made by hand and — importantly — locally, the branch intends to add slogans and further imagery, so the next time you see it, it may look different.”

The banner’s maiden protest was an FBU demonstration outside the council offices warning against slashing minimum crew numbers to three, despite needing five people to respond to serious incidents. The FBU warns that firefighters would be forced to wait for backup crews before they can tackle housefires, putting lives at risk.

Rob added: “This is once again clear evidence, that the cuts to public services place our members and the public at great risk. Solidarity to the FBU in their campaign.”

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