I wanted to take a moment ahead of Christmas to thank you for your continued membership of Community and to wish you well for 2019.
Although many of our members will get plenty of time to enjoy with their families, our thoughts are also with our thousands of members who will be working through the holiday season.
The coming days will be busy ones for our members in logistics as they ensure packets and parcels arrive on time for Christmas.
Our members in justice and custodial services will continue to be on the front line of public service, doing their best to keep people safe.
Those in the voluntary sector will ensure vital sources of support are available to the public at a time when people’s problems can be more acute.
Many members will keep production lines running at the heart of our economy, while others will be working hard to provide a service in businesses and organisations up and down the country.
Some of the challenges our members have faced over the past year will be present into 2019. Community will continue to be on your side, negotiating with employers; putting your case to government and politicians; and continuing to develop our service and support.
In January, we will be launching a new benefit which will provide a little extra help to members in times of need. This is part of our commitment to members to continually improve our offer to you.
I’m proud of what the union has achieved together through our mental health priority campaign in 2018. Hundreds of members have taken part in mental health first aid training and this will continue into 2019. Meanwhile, dozens of employers have signed our Mental Health Charter. Our work with them to ensure the goals of the charter are delivered will be ongoing. Mental health has proved to be an issue that has resonated across our membership.
In 2019 our union will choose a new priority campaign at our biennial conference. I know there are lots of ideas out there for what a campaign that reaches across our union (and beyond) might be and I look forward to hearing them.
The world of work and wider economy and society is not short of challenges. We will continue our work on automation, which affects members across the union, to ensure that the rapid technological transformation that is happening benefits working people not just private profits. We will keep speaking up for an industrial strategy that gives the UK a chance to succeed in global markets. Our members’ health and safety will always be a priority. Decent jobs and job security will remain the core focus of the union. And our work will develop in giving a voice to the concerns of self-employed workers.
We will not ignore the looming political challenge of Brexit. As the government avoids taking the tough decisions and tries to run down the clock, it is the jobs and livelihoods of our members that are on the line. With political paralysis in Parliament and after all too many people misled the public by saying Brexit would be easy, the only way forward now is a People’s Vote to give the public a final say to settle this matter.
I know Brexit is an issue that divides our members. But if we are to find a way through, then we need to focus on what unites us. That is the mutual support that we can provide because we are a membership organisation. Your membership of Community not only protects you but ensures others get the help they need too.
And key to that help is our growing network of Community reps. So as a final thought, I want to pay tribute to your branch officials, who give their time to represent and support members day-in and day-out. We will continue to invest in training and education for our reps, so that they can provide the level of help and advice our members expect.
I hope you get some time to relax over the coming weeks.
Seasons greetings and best wishes for 2019.