Organise. Organise. Organise.

Siân Caulfield, a trade union organiser with the CSP, can’t help noticing the red roses around at the moment – but it’s making her think of more than just Valentine’s day

by SianCaulfield

It’s that time of year – 14 February – when shops are filled with red hearts and roses. Valentines’ Day is upon us and spring is just around the corner.

It’s also HeartUnions week starting on February 12. I guess you could call this a kind of ‘love your union’ event where across the country workers will be celebrating the work of local reps and the collective voice unions provide.

I’ve been working as an organiser for the CSP since May 2017, alongside my colleague Kevin Dale, who has been here since 2015. Together, we cover the length and breadth of the UK to meet, organise and campaign around workplace issues with our 57,000 members.

We have a big year coming up. And HeartUnions week is only the start.

This year is going to be a very special one for trade unions. The Trades Union Congress turns 150 years old, as General Secretary Frances O’Grady explained in Frontline last month. As an affiliated union, we’re joining in the celebrations. This is a chance for us to celebrate the TUC’s and the CSP’s trade union history, and to help the next generation of physios and support workers to get ready for the challenges of the next 150 years.

There’s the TUC march and rally on 12 May in London. Both of these events are crucial dates in the calendar and we’re asking you to get involved – whether you’re an active member or not. Being a part of something bigger really makes a difference.

Last month, Kevin and I – and our colleague Karen O’Dowd, CSP senior negotiating officer for the North West – had a chance to glimpse the TUC’s plans at the official launch event of TUC 150, held in Liverpool. We were able to discuss the issues all trade unionists need to grapple with so that together, workers can protect and secure decent working conditions, and have their voice heard in the workplace. We also gained some brilliant insight from two industrial relations experts and leading women trade unionists.

I left Liverpool reminded of the importance of the CSP’s link with the TUC and, through them, with other larger unions: that together we are stronger.

Having heard and shared plenty of positive examples of the impact of trade unionism, I thought I’d pose you the question: what does your trade union mean to you?

And I leave you with two suggestions of what you could do to get involved!

What you can do

  • Join in HeartUnions next week – contact your workplace steward for more details. If you are working alongside a physio or physio support worker who isn’t a member, tell them about the benefits of membership. And if you don’t have a CSP rep, consider stepping forward as one or find out other ways you can get involved at
  • Save the date of May 12 – to join the CSP at a TUC-led march and rally in London. We’ll be there with our giant inflatables, music and our fluorescent flags. More details soon.  
Siân Caulfield is a trade union organiser with the CSP

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