The past year has shone a light on the importance of trade unions and how best to use our influence, including at TUC conferences
Trade unionism is about mutual support, solidarity and allyship. The pandemic has been one of the most challenging times for CSP members, yet still, delegates to annual TUC conferences represented you to debate the most prevalent issues affecting CSP members and wider society.
Since becoming a trade union 43 years ago, the CSP has seen the benefits of working with other trade unions, in particular since affiliating to the TUC in 1993. Over the past 28 years, we have worked with the TUC and other affiliated trade unions on a wide range of issues.
Together, we have campaigned for fairer NHS pay and challenged the huge attack on public sector pensions, as well as fighting to end sexual harassment in the workplace and for a greater protection for LGBTQIA+ workers. Since affiliating to the TUC, key moments in |our trade union history include physiotherapy support workers joining the CSP in 1994 and the establishment of the BAME, DisAbility and LGBTQIA+ diversity networks in 1995.
The TUC holds a series of annual equality conferences, giving our members the opportunity to represent the CSP at a high-profile event. We have sent hundreds of CSP members to TUC Black Workers, Disabled Workers, LGBT+, Women’s and Young Workers Conferences. Each delegate has an opportunity to debate current issues around rights at work and in society, to speak publicly, network with other activists and trade unionists, and develop a wider perspective on related issues through fringe events and panel debates.
Delegates also have the opportunity to submit motions on behalf of the CSP. Over recent years, members have brought forward and submitted motions on developing trans-friendly workplaces, health inequalities, pregnancy discrimination and work-related stress and mental health of employees. These motions are key to ensuring rights and protections of UK workers and go on to inform the work of the TUC through campaigns, creating workplace guidance and lobbying government.
Voice of the membership
Regional steward, Joanne Bleasedale attended TUC Women’s Conference.
As a first time conference attendee, she spoke on ending gender-based violence.
She said: ‘To be part of this through delivering speeches and highlighting important issues was a privilege.
I would recommend any member to take part in events such as these to gain a deeper insight and be part of changing things for the better for all. This is what it means to be a part of a trade union and professional body; having the voices of the whole membership to support these important issues.’
Connect to a wider cause
Greet Janssens, co-convenor of the DisAbility network, attended TUC Disabled Workers Conference. She spoke about the impact of Covid-19 on workers who have a disability.
‘For a large professional group and trade union to be affiliated to such an important organisation means we can make our joint voices heard, whilst fighting for the cause and striving to end discrimination, including against people with a disability,’ she said.
Andrea Wright, who attended TUC Black Workers conference, said: ‘It’s a very powerful mechanism to feel connected to a wider cause. It strengthens my vision to create more equity and change within the profession not just for black members but for all those who have been marginalised.’
Two other members of the BAME network, Laran Chetty and Rajesh Kumar, also attended. Each had the opportunity to play a crucial part in feeding into the work of the TUC Anti-Racism Task Force, led by General Secretary of the NASUWT Patrick Roache.
Rajesh said: ‘I think it is important for the CSP to attend these events. We have a say in the government policy making towards the inequalities faced by black workers, especially in this pandemic. These conferences inspire many black workers like me to stand against the inequalities in society.’
For the third year running, trade unions are growing. We have seen a 200,000 person increase in union membership, restating the importance of trade unions and workers’ rights.
If you are a CSP member and are interested in being part of the CSP delegation to TUC conference, get in touch with National Officer Siân Caulfield – Caulfields@csp.org.uk;
Interested in becoming a steward or safety rep? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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