UNISON Labour Link – Branch Officer December Update

UNISON has always given its members the choice of opting in to its affiliated political fund, that gives them a say in the democratic processes of the Labour Party, or of opting into the General Political Fund, independent of any political party. For those members that choose to opt into the affiliated political fund the following will be of interest.

Branch Labour Link Officer, Francesca Brennan gives her thoughts:

I love the UNISON Inverclyde Christmas cinema treat. It has been a highlight for my family for the past few years both as a sign that Christmas is on its way as well as a chance to join together in a shared activity. I love seeing lots of us UNISON members bundling into the Waterfront Cinema with our families to settle down for a film and a feast. It is just one more thing we are all missing out on during this unusual year.

But while we can all live without a trip to the pictures, there are essential items that too many people will be going without this Christmas. It was hard to argue with the £500 payment recently announced for NHS and social care workers but this tokenistic ‘bonus’ has, according to some of my health and social care contacts, caused a significant amount of discomfort and division among those who will be in receipt of the money and across the public sector workforce as a whole. As it stands, the payment will not go to cleaners and caterers in schools and care homes, or to refuse collectors or those administering benefits to some of the poorest people in Scotland. As Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said, this payment is “no substitute at all for the significant increase in salary that all Scotland’s health and care workers deserve”. If Nicola Sturgeon wanted to grab headlines with this £500 payment, then the exercise has been a success. If she wanted to make a real change by addressing inequality of pay in the vital services we all continue to rely on so heavily, then there is still a huge amount of work to be done.

At the local Labour Party, like lots of community organisations, we have collected a number of items for the foodbank. It is great to be able to support the i58 Project in Inverclyde but the need for the foodbank is nothing to be celebrated. That is why I am delighted that Inverclyde is doing so much work to achieve food justice for our communities and we can look forward to a Christmas in the future when our families will be back together at the cinema for our film treat and, more importantly, fewer families will need to use the foodbank.

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