Blog: Local Service Champions – Guest blog by Rue Kudya

Picture of Rue Kudya wuth local service champions graphic

Today is UNISON’s annual celebration of local government workers. Whether it’s the staff who keep buildings clean and safe or the worker supporting a resident with their benefits query, Council staff regularly go above and beyond for their communities.  This vital work is often hidden from the public and as the largest union in local government, UNISON want to shine a spotlight on our unsung heroes across the country! 

As a social worker myself, my role in Durham includes completing assessments, reviews, risk management plans, care packages and addressing inequalities in disadvantaged communities. Additionally, part of my job role in the local authority is to be the voice of the voiceless. By so doing, I’ll be promoting and enhancing people’s wellbeing in the community thus making the community a better place for all.

I am also an active member of Durham local government branch, our regional Black members Self Organised Group, Women’s Network and represent women of my region in National Women’s Committee. Although I knew that UNISON was a union that negotiated pensions, pay rise, better working conditions for workers etc, I had not realised that there were so many opportunities to become more involved and promote equality.

UNISON has lots of training courses that it offers to its members and I have had an opportunity to attend a few, such as mentoring, managing stress at work & public speaking. I have also had the opportunity to attend Show Racism the Red Card Ambassadors programme in 2017 and I found this 8-week training programme highly informative and would highly recommend it to anyone.

I feel UNISON has given me a platform to voice my opinions and be the voice of the voiceless. Furthermore, to empower myself and others.

The situation in local government continues to be incredibly challenging due to chronic underfunding. North East Councils face a £133m collective hole in their budgets for the coming financial year. Within Durham this is estimated to be over £10m.

Our region and branch continue to campaign for better funding settlements and this celebration day is an important part of raising the profile of the importance of properly funded public services.