Angela Rayner Urges People to Join A Union

This morning I, along with countless thousands of other Labour party members, got an email from Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner. I have to say that I didn’t vote for her in the leadership elections – I voted for Richard Burgon instead as a left-wing, genuinely Labour candidate. But Rayner’s message is one that I can totally get behind. She was urging me, and others like me, to join a union. She wrote

(L)ast night I sat shocked on my sofa as Boris Johnson spoke to our country.

Workers who can’t work from home were encouraged to go back to work – but given no guidance on how to stay safe.

Millions of jobs are impossible to do while 2 metres apart. Millions of us have been given no protective equipment. But David, we don’t have to sit on our sofas and take this.

When I was a care worker on a zero hour contract and poverty pay, I joined a trade union. With my union, alongside my work mates, I won better working conditions. Labour MPs will always fight for workers’ interests, and you can do the same by joining a union. Are you a trade union member?

This crisis has proved the strength of workers when we unite – whether you’re a construction worker or a care giver. It’s proved the power of having a trade union membership card in your pocket.

Trade unions fought for and won the furlough scheme. It’s trade unions who are making sure thousands of workers don’t get laid off during this crisis. In retail, healthcare, catering, building and beyond, union representatives are sorting safety measures like protective equipment, hand washing facilities and enough space to social distance. ​But we can’t rest until every worker does their job in safe and fair conditions.

The Labour Party was founded when working people came together to win. As one movement, we won a 5 day week, equal pay for women and a minimum wage. Together, we will win again.

Angela Rayner

Deputy Leader and Chair of The Labour Party

The question ‘Are you a trade union member?’ was followed by two answers,  ‘No, tell me how’ and ‘Yes – give me advice’. These were linked to the relevant TUC pages. The ‘No’ answer takes you to the TUC page on joining at union at

https://www.tuc.org.uk/join-union?source=20200511_UnionLab&subsource=bsd_email&utm_campaign=UnionLab&utm_medium=email&utm_source=bsd

This doesn’t apply to me, as I’m still off work because of the cancer treatment. But it very much applies to everyone fortunate to be employed. Whatever side of the Labour party you’re on, whether you’re left, right, centre or undecided, if you’re a working person you need to join a union. The unions have been there since the late 18th century, when they first appeared in the industrial north, to defend working people’s rights at work and fight for higher wages and better conditions.  The wage freezes and declining working conditions that have produced poverty, job insecurity and starvation in this country are a result of over four decades of right-wing governments doing their best to destroy the unions. And the situation for all too many millions is desperate.

We need to give working people back prosperity, job security and dignity, and that means strong unions. And they can only be made strong by people joining them.

So I urge everyone who can to join a union, because working people need their protection.

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4 Responses to “Angela Rayner Urges People to Join A Union”

  1. trev Says:

    I absolutely agree, and I got the email too. Being unemployed though it doesn’t apply to me at the moment, and to be honest I’m not sure if it ever will! I’ve continued to do a bit of jobsearch throughout the lockdown but haven’t found much to apply for. The email job alerts I receive are either for jobs requiring skills and experience I don’t have or are production/warehouse jobs too far away that involve shift work, or part time cleaning jobs that are also in other areas. Absolutely nothing in my town. I’ll be glad when I’m old enough to get my State Pension, or alternatively to receive an Unconditional Basic Income if that ever happens (don’t hold your breath).

    • beastrabban Says:

      I hope something comes through for you, Trev. I’d like the Universal Basic Income to come in, but I really don’t think it will. Not under the Tories nor with Starmer. I did find a book on looking for work for mature people, ‘Finding Work After 40: Proven Strategies for Managers and Professionals’ by Robin McKay Bell and Liam Mifsud (London: A&C Black). But as this seems to be for people looking for management positions I’m not sure what help it would be.

  2. gillyflowerblog Says:

    Agree. I got one too. Although I am retired and receiving a pension, it absolutely does apply to me. I am still a member of the CWU, retired members section. There is also Unite the Union’s community section. I do understand it may not be affordable on straightened budgets, but should definitely be considered
    Gill

    • beastrabban Says:

      Thanks for that, Gillyflowerblog. I recalled that one of the unions also had a section for people, who are unemployed, but I couldn’t remember which one. This is something that I think I shall have to come back to and find out more, because of the prevalence of unemployment and job insecurity under the Tories.

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