Lockdown has awoken the sleeping giant in our workplaces: union power

With a surge in membership under way during the Coronavirus crisis, this is a once-in-a-generation chance to build unity.

Unison Birmingham Branch is mentioned in the below article, for our Home Care Workers strike – and the power it brought to the members. We can bring our workforce together, and ensure a fair working environment for all – united we stand. See below paragraphs from The Guardian (), and the full article linked.

“Lockdown has made clear how vital unions are, and this is significant. In recent years the story told about them has not been a happy one, focusing on their haemorrhage of power and members: from more than 13 million in 1979 to 6.2 million today. Members who stay, union critics say, are trapped in toothless institutions bound by state-imposed legislation and self-imposed bureaucracy.

Now those apparently toothless unions have started to bite. The TUC began lockdown by negotiating state support for millions of workers through the furlough scheme and, vitally, union power appears to be waking up in workplaces across the UK. The National Education Union (NEU) reports that its membership grew by 7,500 over one weekend, and traffic on the TUC’s joining page is up 300%. Public support for union demands is also growing: 400,000 people have signed the NEU’s petition against the unsafe opening of schools.

But online outrage won’t be enough to sustain power. The union movement now has a once-in-a-generation chance to reverse decline and write itself a happier story, but to do so, it must look carefully at what has changed in the past months. The key ingredients – of clever online organising, working across unions, mass and dynamic worker involvement, and a willingness to refuse to work unless demands are met – were missing at scale before now, aside from notable exceptions, such as the Unison Birmingham care-workers strike, the Glasgow Equal Pay campaign, and the radical effectiveness of IWGB and UVW.”

See the full article on The Guardian here