Last week saw the Union hold its annual Health Conference in Liverpool where I was asked to launch UNISON’s General Election campaign strategy. This election may have been called at short notice but we in UNISON are ready to do everything we can to prevent further years of a Conservative Government. The Tories want this election to increase their majority so they can push through a hard Brexit which will not be good for our members or our public services.
That’s why core to our election strategy is to use our public service champions campaign to keep what’s happening to public services and our NHS at the top of the political agenda. We must put the funding crisis in our NHS and other public services at the heart of this election campaign and it’s critical we highlight the real facts about the impact funding cuts are having on our public services, not just for the people who deliver them but also for the people who use them.
The second element of the strategy is to engage all 1.3 million of our own UNISON members. We must talk to our members about what is at stake in this election and the importance for everyone to use their vote. We must ask people to get involved in the election campaign and encourage people to volunteer an help out at a local level.
The final strand of our election strategy, is as with previous elections, we will be focussing on key electoral battlegrounds and our Labour Link both Nationally and Regionally are working with the Labour Party on this to ensure we focus our resources effectively. In the Region one of the key areas we will be focussing on is in Hartelpool where I am delighted to say one of our own Regional Organisers, Mike Hill has been selected to stand, we must do all we can to ensure Mike is elected and the lies of UKIP and the Tories are defeated.
We must make sure we get the message across that the outcome of this election will make a real and significant difference to all public services, including the NHS.
This year UNISON once again supported the various events that took place in the Region to commemorate Workers Memorial Day and on Friday I was very honoured to be asked to attend the service in Hartlepool and lay a wreath at the Tree of Remembrance in the College. As we all know the purpose behind workers memorial day has always been to remember the dead and fight for the living as every year more people are killed at work than in wars. Most don’t die of mystery ailments, or in tragic accidents, they die because an employer decided their safety just wasn’t that important and as Regional Secretary I will ensure the Region continues to work tirelessly with organisations such as Hartlepool trades council to highlight these issues and campaign for stricter enforcement of health & safety laws to ensure such tragedies are not repeated.
The TUC commissioned a DVD around Workers Memorial Day in 2016 and I would like to see this being used as a Health & Safety resource. The film can be access via this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFYuY-gJFTA