President: ‘Our power comes from our activists’

Josie Bird
Josie Bird

UNISON President Josie Bird addressed #uwomen20

She highlighted the importance of recruiting workers in temporary and insecure posts “who arguably need the support of a union more than most.”

Josie also called on us to nurture young members and mentor them to continue to be active once they reach 27.

She touched on the challenges ahead. A Johnson Tory government; Brexit and the prospect of trade deals with Trump, a rise in right-wing rhetoric; an undermining of equalities and women’s rights.

“We know that Johnson has no respect for equality or workers rights,” said Josie, highlighting the growing inequality in our country, attacks on public services, hitting children and the most vulnerable, attacks on workers’ pay, rising numbers getting paid less than the living wage, and a growing gender pay gap. She also slammed Universal Credit and the terrible impact it has had on many people but mainly women.

“The lost decade of austerity has had a massive impact on real peoples lives,” said Josie slamming the growing numbers of families growing up poor, rising homelessness, almost 40% child poverty. “We are in danger of having a lost generation. It’s an absolute disgrace.”

Josie added, “I don’t want this to depress us I want it to galvanise us.”

She touched on our wins but urged us not to rest on our laurels. She set out a whole series of forthcoming campaigns that we need to embrace to make lives better for our women members.

Josie also highlighted the importance of playing a part in tackling the climate crisis. “Our children won’t forgive us if we do not.”

“Our power comes from our activists,” added Josie. “We need you behind us to give us the influence to make a difference.”

Josie then spoke about her presidents’ charity Nomadesc in Colombia.

By Kate Ramsden

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