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This week is heart unions week, where trade union activist across the North East and Cumbria promote the benefits of union membership and campaign around key issues. This year is a little different.
Beth Farhat, Secretary Northern TUC

No-one could have foreseen the twin challenges of the global pandemic and consequent recession. We are proud of the way the trade union movement responded, stepping up to fight the pandemic, demanding action to protect jobs and supporting our members through thick and thin.

With the pandemic still part of all our lives our trade unionists are holding digital events and zoom meetings to encourage potential members to do one thing. Join a trade union.

There are all the usual argument about the trade union pay premium which sees unionised workers receive higher pay and better terms and conditions but also the sense of pride and community that comes from being part of a trade union branch.

That is a big part of what we are doing during Heart Unions week where we will be holding online events to make sure we are raising issues that matter to workers and recruiting new members.

We will do this by deploying new online tools such as the TUC’s Union Finder which allows anyone to complete a quick survey and identify the best union for them to join.

Since the start of the pandemic we have used Union Finder to reach out to almost a hundred thousand workers looking to join a union. We are hoping over the coming weeks to speak to thousands more and start them on their journey towards trade union membership.

This week does have a much more focused campaign than simply promoting union membership with our key challenge for the year ahead about securing a boost to lagging wages for the lowest paid in society.

Right now key workers are dealing with a decade of stagnant wages and now the economic fall out of the pandemic. Which has disproportionately fallen on their shoulders, we cannot have another lost decade after this and the mission of us as trade unionists will be to continue organising and making the case for better jobs and conditions.

So as I often say in this column now is the best possible time to join a trade union, if you don’t know where to start you can find out more at:

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