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TUC Campaign Plan 2019–20

Report type
Research and reports
Issue date
Key findings

Please help support our mission to change the word of work for good.

Proud to be union:

Together we can win:

The TUC’s campaign plan sets out what our movement will do together, over the coming year. It complements the campaigns and industrial priorities of individual unions and offers a platform for members of different unions to work together on campaigns locally, through trades councils, regionally and nationally.

As you plan for the coming year, think about the practical actions your branch, trades council or region can take to promote our common priorities, show practical solidarity
to workers in dispute and lend our support to wider campaigns that share our values.

Whether it be at Workers’ Memorial Day, May Day, HeartUnions week, Durham Miners’ Gala, International Women’s Day, Black History Month or Tolpuddle, trade unionists stand up for equality, justice and working people all year round. And throughout the year to come, there will be tools and resources to support you on our website.

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The situation we face
Britain is stuck in a Brexit crisis of the government’s making. Despite being granted a six-month extension by the European Union, the threat of a job-destroying bad deal or ‘no deal’ remains a very real threat.
Shop workers

Having promised “strong and stable” leadership, Theresa May was ousted from office after failing to get her deal through parliament.

Britain’s new Prime Minister Boris Johnson has signalled his willingness to crash the UK out of Europe whatever the cost.

Working people are already paying the price for the government’s shambolic handling of Brexit, with thousands of decent manufacturing jobs already lost. And as Brexit dominates parliament many of the wider problems affecting Britain today are not being dealt with.

Millions of us are trapped in insecure jobs that give no control over working lives. Workers’ pay packets still haven’t recovered from the financial crisis.

And years of disastrous austerity have left our schools, hospitals, councils and welfare at breaking point.

Towns and cities across Britain have been gutted by years of cuts and underinvestment. Huge cuts to local government mean that Sure Start Centres, libraries and youth clubs that allow communities to meet and come together are gone.

These tears in the social fabric have emboldened the far right to spread their poison and sow division among working people. Immigrants are scapegoated for problems the government should be fixing, such as undercutting and pressure on public services. BME workers continue to suffer racism and discrimination.

New technology – that should be improving the lives of working people – is instead being used to track and sweat workers.

From distribution centres to classrooms, workers face increasing workloads and pressure – with more than 15 million days lost to stress-related illness every year.

Faced with these many challenges the UK trade union movement has stayed true to our values and stood up for working people.

We have kept workers’ rights, jobs and peace in Northern Ireland high up the political agenda and held the government’s feet to the fire on their disastrous approach to Brexit.

We have won breakthrough agreements in the gig economy and after years of campaigning have got the agency worker pay penalty (the much-hated Swedish derogation) scrapped.

We have scored notable victories for workers in a range of sectors, from getting a pay rise for McDonald’s staff to winning union recognition for couriers and tackling pay inequality in the NHS. And we’ve joined forces with unions around the world to take on the corporations who won’t play by the rules.

Against the odds, we’ve grown our membership over the last year. But we cannot escape the challenges that lie ahead.

The latest figures show that union density stands at just 23 per cent, and that only 15 per cent of young workers aged 21–30 are members of a trade union. By contrast, the proportion of union members aged 50 and over has nearly doubled over the last 20 years.

If we are to deliver for working people, the union movement must step up to the plate and reach more young people.

We know that backing our reps, extending collective bargaining and building union organising is the best way to tackle inequality and improve pay and conditions at work.

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