I’m proud of what we as a trade union movement have achieved over the past year. At a time of huge upheaval, together we have stayed true to our values and stood up for working people.
On the defining issue of the day – Brexit – we have kept the government’s feet to the fire and battled to put jobs, rights and peace in Ireland high up the political agenda. Support from our union friends across Europe has been solid as a rock.
We have highlighted the dangers of a no-deal Brexit and we won’t shy away from the challenges ahead. The new prime minister Boris Johnson may be willing to let Britain to crash out of the EU with a catastrophic loss of livelihoods, and environmental, consumer and worker protections – against all the promises that were made in the referendum campaign.
But our opponents underestimate us at their peril. Together with our brilliant workplace reps and officers, we will do everything possible to defend workers and our communities – because that is what trade unions do.
In the face of global uncertainty, whether in steel, retail or the car industry, we are at the forefront of fighting for our future. We will forge plans for a new industrial strategy, where government has failed.
We are winning important victories across the economy, from securing equal pay for care workers and getting McDonald’s staff a pay rise to gaining union recognition for couriers and getting the agency worker pay penalty outlawed.
We continue to make workplaces healthier, safer and fairer. Last year, over 200,000 workers benefited from training and learning opportunities – thanks to their union.
And against the odds we have grown our movement, increasing membership over the past year. But we know we must do more to bring in younger workers, boost bargaining coverage, and innovate new ways to organise.
The world of work is changing and we must change with it.
In the coming year we will build on our work to tackle racism and the poisonous politics of hate. The far right aims to divide working people: trade unions exist to unite us.
We’ll build class unity and campaign for a new deal that gives everyone dignity and fairness at work, whatever our race, religion or background.
And we’ll continue to make the case for a more just and equal economy that puts working people and the planet first.
What happens over the coming weeks and months will shape our jobs, living standards and public services for a generation. A strong, fighting, internationalist trade union movement is more important now than ever.
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