Branch Portsmouth & District 0750
Membership No – 31561281
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are fast approaching that time of year when most of us can spend some quality time with our family and friends, we can reflect over past events and the year that has gone by, and recharge our batteries in preparation for the difficulties that may be ahead.
The industries which our representatives, officers, and I currently have responsibility for, Steel and Royal Mail, are experiencing the same difficulties as other industries. Our members, (if they have not already lost their jobs) are facing change on a day to day basis.
Steel production in the UK , the rest of Europe, and North America, is down by 47% this has resulted in job losses, reductions in shifts, reduced earnings, shut downs and uncertainty about the future.
Royal Mail is also shedding jobs, closing Mail Centres and Post Offices. It is anticipated that our member’s pension scheme will show a deficit in excess of £7 billion and the government has just announced the findings of an independent review that could lead to further job losses and possible privatisation.
We are not alone; our members in all industries throughout the UK and Ireland are facing similar problems.
Job losses are escalating throughout building, manufacturing, finance and frankly all other industries, and the demands upon government for public finances to assist these industries through the economic crisis will put pressure on jobs and wages for public sector workers.
I have always believed in strong trade unionism, collectivism and community. Our union has a long and proud history of defending working people, lobbying all governments and creating the policies that can scope the future.
If ever there was a time to renew our belief in strong collective trade unionism and in community, then that time has come. I am also convinced that we have the spirit, commitment, and strength to see us through the difficulties that lay ahead and the ability to build a positive future with the right leadership.
We also have the opportunity to reject the unregulated “Free Market” philosophy and recreate a society based upon family and community.
A time for reflection…
In the early 1990’s an acquaintance of mine, Pete McGinley, who at the time was working with homeless people at Centre Point in London, explained to me that every working person is potentially 12 months from being homeless. It starts with losing the job, losing the home and the possible break up of the family. The cycle of events can take about 12 months.
This problem is now compounded with the increase in home ownership, increase in personal debt and the decrease in affordable housing. That’s why it’s right that our union is pushing the issue of affordable housing and why we need to develop policies based upon collectivism and community.
We need to ensure that in addition to banks and businesses being supported, people, their families and the community are also supported.
The New Year will bring many challenges and I’m convinced that we can and should all play our part in meeting those challenges and jointly, together, we can create the policies that will determine our future.
The future must involve all of our members, future members, activists, representatives, staff and officers, playing an active and participatory part in our union and the wider labour movement.
Finally, during this time of celebration and expectation let us not forget our members who have lost their jobs and those that may be fearful of that possibility.
May I wish you and your families all the very best for the New Year and thank you for your continued support, and hopefully we can all take the caring, family and community spirit with us into the New Year when we may all need it the most.
Best wishes and in solidarity.
“It’s not me – it’s us who will make a difference”