Someone like me was not meant to go into politics. I was once told that the chances of someone like me getting a job in Parliament were very slim, and to not even bother trying.
The unfairness I felt about this drove me to challenge the barriers that I faced as a black woman. I wanted to make a difference for my community, to make sure people are treated fairly and have the support they need to live a dignified life.
I was immensely proud to have been elected to represent Erith & Thamesmead as their Member of Parliament in 2019.
When I was first elected, we could never have predicted the way the world would turn just a few short months later.
The last twelve months has been incredibly traumatic for us as a society. Our everyday lives, and the working world, has been rocked in ways that are beyond our previous imagination.
Working in the Shadow Treasury team during this pandemic has highlighted to me the pre-existing inequalities and failings that are entrenched in our economy. Like Community Union, I believe that it is vital that workers are placed at the heart of any post-Coronavirus economy, and are not treated as an afterthought.
We’ve been working with Community on the impact the pandemic has had not only on traditional industries like steel but also on the self-employed, and developing ideas on what our future work can look like.
What brought me to Community is that they are a trade union for an ever changing world. They recognise that the world of work is evolving, and in order to protect our rights at work our trade unions must evolve with it.
Community’s work on the future of work and organising of workers who are not traditionally members of trade unions, such as in the third sector, in finance or the self-employed, is key for thinking about our future.
It provides us with the blueprint for what Labour should do when we get into government.
Community also understands that trade unions should be there for its members wherever they may be – to be in their members corner at work, at home, and whenever life gets complicated.
It’s never been more important that we have to stand together. We have to be there for each other, and that is what a union is for.
During the pandemic, Community has fought hard for its members’ jobs, safety and pay. It has campaigned for PPE, extension of furlough, and for proper support for the excluded self-employed. We have made great progress on all these fronts, but there is more work to do.
It is only when we stand together that we have power to change things and make sure our communities are not only safe, but also prosperous.
Join me and become a member of Community today.
To join Community, visit www.community-tu.org/join.