Community’s president, Pete Hobson, spoke about trade unions and collective voice at the 150th TUC Congress in Manchester.
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“Congress, we are not only here to determine the priorities for our movement for the year ahead. We are here to celebrate what we have achieved over the past 150 years. Those achievements would not have been possible without collective bargaining.
“That is what our unions were formed for. To give working people a voice. To give workers power. And to secure our fair share in recognition and reward for what we do. The founding principles of our movement are still important today. But we need to apply them to a different world of work. One that is changing faster than ever before.
“We need to demonstrate the difference that trade unions can make. Everyone here knows the difference. I know my pay, terms and conditions are what they are thanks to over 100 years union negotiation. Every year, trying to secure a little more for our members. We don’t always succeed, but we never give up.
“There will always be reasons for us to protest but we must also persuade. The facts and figures prove unions make a positive difference: to productivity, to income equality and to the economy in general. But we still need to make our case. And we must all be concerned that millions of workers do not benefit from trade union negotiation.
“Millions don’t know that some of the basic rights people enjoy are thanks to the efforts of trade unionists over these past 150 years. Now we need to look to the future. Recognise that more and more people work in different ways.
“That’s why Community is trying to reach out to self-employed workers with our partners at Indycube. That’s why we’re working with a new tech company called LabourXchange, which is trying to disrupt the worst abuses of the gig economy.
“That’s why we’re constantly asking what more we can do to make sure our collective voice makes a difference. For only by bringing more people into our movement will we ensure that things improve for working people for the next 150 years.”