Taking the union message to your
Your union branch speaks up for your members and potential members in the workplace. Whether it’s pay, rights at work, health and safety or lifelong learning, your branch exists to get a better deal for your members. Unions also need to raise their voice in the world beyond the workplace when: • the public services delivered and used by union members come under threat • racists and fascists try to divide local communities • local authorities seek to reduce democratic control of education or housing. That’s where your local trade union council comes in. Trade union councils bring together local union branches to campaign across the community on issues that matter to working people. Facing closure? Your trade union council can provide practical support and solidarity. Tackling racism? Your trade union council can help unite local people against the haters. Privatisation problems? Your trade union council can help campaign for public ownership and democratic control. Most trade union councils operate at borough or district level but county trade union councils usually represent the local labour movement in counties with unitary authorities.
All over the country, trade union councils have been making the difference between success and failure. • Wirral TUC played an important role in the local union campaign to stop privatisation of the Mersey Tunnels • Swindon TUC ran a successful Defend Council Housing campaign involving tenants and local government unions when the authority tried to transfer its housing stock to a housing association • Like many trade union councils, Haringey TUC held a vigil on Workers’ Memorial Day to highlight injury and death at work – choosing the site where a number of workers had recently narrowly escaped with their lives when a building collapsed • Greater Manchester and Liverpool are just two of the TUCs which have campaigned in support of asylum-seekers • Four North-West county associations organised a conference on tackling racism, involving speakers from Searchlight, TUC Education and Oldham and Burnley councils • Trade union councils often play a vital role in organising events to mark May Day every year, often by making the traditional labour movement celebration relevant to key local campaigns.
Union branches donâ€™t exist in a work-shaped bubble. As union members we are often profoundly affected by the issues that concern the communities we live and work in. Sometimes we need to secure practical support from our local community. And sometimes we can offer experience and expertise to local campaigns that makes the difference between well-meaning failure and properlyorganised success. Your local trade union council enables your union branch to give and to get practical solidarity at the local grassroots. And every union branch that affiliates to its local trade union council makes it more powerful, more representative, and better-placed to deliver for local people.
To find out about the trade union council near you, visit the dedicated website unionsinthecommunity.org.uk
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Published on Jul 6, 2010