Issue date
10 Mar 2019
A round-up of union news from across the South West

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600,00 South West working-age people live in poverty

Official poverty and employment figures show working-age poverty in the South West has fallen little since 2010/11, despite regional unemployment falling significantly. The proportion of working-age people living in poverty was 20% in 2010/11, and 18% in 2017/18, according to the Office for National Statistics. The poor progress comes despite unemployment in the South West falling from 6.6% in 2011 to 3.5% in 2018.

Changes needed to end working poverty: The TUC is calling on the government to reduce working poverty by:

  • Increasing the minimum wage to £10 as quickly as possible
  • Giving all public-sector workers a fully funded proper pay rise, after years of pay cuts
  • Ending the benefits freeze and improving support for low-paid families
  • Strengthening collective bargaining rights for workers, and setting up new bodies to negotiate pay in sectors where low pay is endemic, such as hospitality, agricultural labour and care work

For more, click here

Young workers missing out on £200 million in minimum wage pay

The average 21-24 year-old minimum wage worker is earning £800 a year less than over 25s. Adding up to a £200 million a year loss in minimum wage pay.

The TUC is calling for all over 21s onto the full minimum wage rate and for the minimum wage to be raised to £10 an hour as soon as possible.

Wage growth, but only for the few

In recent months, wages are rising faster than prices. But there is growing evidence that pay gains are for the few. Reeling from the most severe pay crisis for 200 years, the many have little reason to celebrate.

Read the full blog by Geoff Tily of the TUC here


TUC South West Annual Conference

The annual gathering of trade unions in Croyde Bay, north Devon proved a great success. There was a range of discussions over online activism, period dignity, working time, Universal Credit and the campaign to free the Kurdish leader Abrahim Ocalan. Tam MacFarlane, FBU won an ovation for a moving speech over the Grenfell Tower inquiry and other motions passed including ones on Save Honda in Swindon, USDAW’s pay campaign, the need for radical reform to social security, investment in bus and rail services and menopause support in workplaces. Kev Terry, Unite, was re-elected vice-chair of the South West TUC and Hannah David, PCS was elected Vice-chair.

Download Annual Report here



Unions at Glastonbury

The Communication Workers Union is taking the trade union message to this year’s Glastonbury Festival. This world-famous music event has a massive audience and is a great opportunity to raise the profile of trade unions.

To help pay for this initiative the CWU is appealing for funds.

Unity Trust Bank Account Number – 20208154 Sort Code – 60-83-01

Further enquiries to


Building leaders for the future

Our Future Leaders Programme is now accepting applications. The six-month training programme for trade unionists aged 19 – 30 will start in June and will be a kickstart for aspiring members, reps and officers looking to lead change for working people. Successful applicants will benefit from a wide range of training opportunities ranging from public speaking to debating, writing motions and using different tools to get your message across. The Programme will also include a visit abroad. Apply before the deadline on Friday 17 May at 12noon.

For more information, or to nominate a future leader, visit : or contact

Social Media and Trade Unions

Update your social media skills and help the branch use social media in organising. Also covers representing members around social media issues and monitoring by the employer.

Bristol Three Wednesdays from 5 June – City of Bristol College, BS7 9BU.

Mental Health Awareness

Mental health in the workplace is increasingly important. This course covers why it is important and how reps can deal with mental health issues.

Bristol Three days 9-11 July – City of Bristol College, BS7 9BU.





Read and share the special edition of our West Country Workers magazine.

West Country Workers is out

The latest edition of West Country Workers, the magazine from the South West TUC is out. Copies are being circulated through unions and copies can be ordered from

It can be read online or downloaded from here


Tolpuddle Man with Graham Moore and Company

Friday 17 May 8pm (doors open at 7.15pm)

Shire Hall, Dorchester

Graham Moore, James Findlay, Phil Humphries and Company, present songs and scenes from the folk musical ‘Tolpuddle Man’.

The performance is set within the original Historic Courtroom where the six Tolpuddle Martyrs were sentenced to seven years transportation, after organising a friendly society “to preserve ourselves, our wives, and our children, from utter degradation and starvation”. £12.00 adult/£10.00 child/student

Book tickets here


Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival

19-21 July 2019

Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival