The people of the WORKING CLASS kept Britain functioning throughout the pandemic – social workers, NHS staff, council and school support staff and other representatives of Unison , warehouse workers and transport workers.
Yet these are the same workers who have been most affected by the pandemic.
Many of these workers are very poorly paid and suffer from in-work poverty. A lack of personal protective equipment in the early stages of Covid-19 meant that many of them lost their lives taking care of us.
Deaths and serious illness have been disproportionately high in black communities, and Covid-19 has ravaged areas of deprivation. Thousands of people have lost their jobs and food bank use is at an all time high.
This Wales TUC Congress, we will assess the terrible devastation that Covid-19 has caused and remember that lost friends and families have changed forever.
And we will be angry at the increase in inequality in our country and the fact that the people who really matter in society are completely undervalued.
Unions need to react forcefully, seize the initiative and define how we are going to campaign for a fairer Wales and help shape the society we all want to live in.
Unison is clear, we must build a Wales where no one is left behind.
With the overwhelming victory of Welsh Labor, we have a very powerful ally in this task.
I would like to congratulate Mark Drakeford both for the decisive outcome of the election and for the clever and reasoned way in which he handled this crisis; such a contrast to the slippery and dishonest occupant of No.10.
It is important to note that the Prime Minister understands that unions are valuable partners with expertise to share when formulating policies.
The Prime Minister has presented a series of exciting proposals that have the power to transform the livelihoods of several thousand people in Wales.
Unison is a very willing partner and we promise to do our part, supporting, lobbying and influencing to get a Social Partnership Act and a National Care Service for Wales in the statute book.
And we will work hard to ensure that the Welsh Government prioritizes an equality-based recovery and investments in high-quality public services and the workers who deliver them.
A law on social partnership would require public bodies to promote fair work, in particular through their public contracts.
At this Wales TUC Congress, Unison is hosting a side event on how the billions of pounds spent on public procurement can be a lever for gradual change.
A new procurement strategy would mean that bad employers bidding for government contracts could not undermine decent employers, thus strengthening workers’ stranglehold.
This would mean that everyone in the supply chain, including private entrepreneurs, would earn the real living wage; ending the abuse of zero hour contracts and the protection of workers’ rights, helping to achieve a more equal Wales for all.
Join our virtual seminar on the sidelines of Wednesday May 26 at 1 p.m. and we are very happy to welcome the new Deputy Minister of Social Partnership, Hannah Blythyn. To register, please email [email protected]