Speaker: Roger McKenzie Assistant General Secretary at UNISON
The referendum has resulted in an increase in racist abuse. Some people where taken in by the rhetoric that divides people, saying some of us are better than others and life would be better without those kinds of people around. Even some people from black community have been heard saying things against Eastern Europeans. It has made for a poisonous atmosphere.
The message has been there’s no point standing together -it’s everyone for themselves.
Many UNISON members working in the UK who originating from the EU report feeling unwelcome in the UK now. “Why do they want us to go?” they ask.
170,000 people join UNISON year.
60% of those who join UNISON come from the private sector. Recognition is difficult in this sector because many private sectors employers are hostile and the only thing we can do it go in on the back of the member’s right to be accompanied. This does not give the union the means to negotiate or consult on pay and conditions with the employer.
On the other side, lots of people have been leaving UNISON because they are made redundant or have had enough of working in public service. Higher workloads caused by fewer staff compounded by continuous job uncertainly and near zero pay increases have all contributed towards poor morale and staff leaving.
Gateshead UNISON says that they now have more staff who want to go on redundancy than there are jobs being made redundant
High levels of Privatisation in the Home Office is a warning that the new prime minister will be pursuing the privatising agenda.
Roger will be doing a number of road shows supporting EU members in the workplaces across the UK Joint Council for Welfare of Immigrants. The trade union movement will have to support those under attack.
Now is the time to get the message across to the politicians processing leaving Europe; that we value other EU nationals working in the UK and that we want to retain our employment rights.
UNISON needs to be well organised on the ground with reps to assist members and recruit.
We have shown that we can fight anti-union legislation, managing to stop the removal of DOCAS by the Trade Union Bill. However history tells us that the government will come back for more.
Working people may have their disagreements but we need to stick together. Need to build together and build the movement for working people.