A time like no other, a union like no other
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey wishes Unite members a happy New Year and says that together our solidarity will get us through
It has been a year like no other. From the moment the coronavirus hit our shores, this union was on the front foot. Unite was always going to have to go into hand-to-hand battle against this pandemic.
From our factories to our warehouses, councils to hospitals, at ports, on buses, in airports, bars and hotels, Unite members are on the frontline. And you stepped up, working around the clock, keeping our people safe and our economy moving.
At the table with government we battled for – and won – the jobs retention scheme to fend off a collapse in household incomes on a disastrous scale. In the courts, we took on bad bosses, defending the right to strike, and won. In the workplace, our health and safety army made it safe for you to work.
Your reps and officers worked night and day in these toughest of circumstances to see off attacks on pay and cuts to jobs as the economy closed down and sector after sector saw demand tumble.
There’ll be a reckoning soon. Questions will be asked about the decisions government took – were they in the best interests of the country? When that time comes, Unite will ensure that your voices are heard because the UK has suffered the largest death toll in the EU and the biggest economic hit among developed nations.
Be clear, your union will fight with every bone in its body to make sure that working people do not pay for this crisis.
We are told that by spring the economy will reawaken. We’re not banking on that promise. The country is engulfed in the biggest recession in 300 years. Incomes are taking a pounding, redundancies are sweeping through our streets.
The country urgently needs a plan for jobs – and your union has one, identifying some of the quickest ways to create employment and improve the environment into the bargain.
Now, with a vaccine on its way, Unite members will ship, dispatch and administer this hope for our people. In this time like no other, this is a union like no other. You are members like no other, and I’ve never been more proud to be your general secretary.
To you and your loved ones, a safe and happy festive season. Next year, we come back stronger. Proud, fighting for better – together, as always, our solidarity will get us through.
By Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary @Len McCluskey