Lilian Macer, UNISON Scotland convener, Christmas message to UNISON members and staff:
You have continued to deliver the high-quality public services we all rely upon. Once again, you have gone above and beyond to keep society running. As the year draws to a close, I wanted to say thank you to every single one of our members for everything you have done this year.
I take pride in each story of how UNISON members have pulled together. Whether it is vaccinating the public; providing compassionate care for those who are sick or dying of Covid; educating our children and young people in difficult circumstances; social care workers caring for our most vulnerable; utility workers reconnecting homes after storm Arwen, social workers and housing staff protecting families; or our police staff, with the world watching, ensuring the success of COP26 in the middle of a pandemic.
No longer can cleaners – that army of low paid, mostly women – be so undervalued ever again. The front line against Covid.
And let us not forget, that UNISON members work throughout Christmas and New Year – our emergency services, police staff, local councils, health and care services, water, gas and electricity. Essential services do not close over the festive period.
If there is any positive from this pandemic, it shows that we are strong when we speak with one voice. It is all of us sticking together that protects our public services.
Listening to essential workers has never been more essential. We have literally saved lives by standing together.
That’s why UNISON will not stop negotiating, organising and campaigning. We believe in strong public services. But public services are only as strong as the workforce who provide them. And the workforce is stronger when we stand together.
I also want to thank UNISON staff for the support they have given me, and the support they gave to all our UNISON activists, stewards and members over the last year.
Together we demanded the strongest possible workplace guidance; improvements to resources and equipment; for employers to pay the extra costs if you have to work from home; that your earnings are protected if you are sick, shielding or self-isolating.
We continue to meet with governments and employers for investment in public services, to demand safe working conditions, and that our essential workers have the protection they need. We also press them about your concerns for a greener, fairer planet – like we did at COP26.
Yes, we have much more to do but we will accomplish so much more together. Let us continue our campaign for public services into the new year, in UNISON.
Let me finish by wishing you all a Merry Christmas. I hope you get to spend some time with family and friends. Thank you for all you do. You make me proud to say I am UNISON.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
UNISON Scotland Convener