Unite GS Len McCluskey speaks out on the video below. Here’s what he says:
Every year we celebrate our union’s history at rural trade union festivals all around the country – the women Chainmakers, Tolpuddle, Burston and others. We come together in lanes, fields and tents to remember the lives, struggles and victories of rural workers and communities. True solidarity through the generations.
Sadly we won’t be gathering this year but we won’t be silent. The Chainmakers and Tolpuddle are going digital, with online talks, speeches and music. Tolpuddle will even hold a virtual procession.
All our wonderful, colourful memories will be shared online. Because as trade unionists we always find a way to stand shoulder to shoulder.
And we will continue to do so. The importance of our workers has never been more clear. Agricultural and food workers have kept food on our tables; teachers have kept key workers’ children safe and educated; refuse workers have kept our streets clean.
To you and all workers that keep us going we thank you. The nation owes you so much. Unite will never stop fighting for your safety, your jobs and your incomes. We’ll stand up to the greedy bosses using this pandemic as an excuse to slash jobs and pay.
So my message to you is join with families, communities and fellow workers virtually, or however you can, to celebrate our past. Stay upbeat and determined. When this crisis is over we’ll be back, bigger and better, like never before.
Compiled by Martin Scanlon and Amanda Campbell