Public service workers join UNISON in record numbers during crisis

Sienna Rodgers

Public service workers are joining UNISON in record numbers during the coronavirus crisis in the UK as the trade union says staff increasingly “seek support and security”.

UNISON has grown by nearly 16,000 members since the beginning of 2020, according to the latest figures released the union, which as 1.3 million members in total.

This rise in membership mostly took place in March and early April, the trade union has said, and nearly a third – almost 5,000 new UNISON members – was the result of people working in schools joining up.

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “People are joining the union for advice and security at this worrying time. And they are turning to UNISON because our workplace reps and activists are second to none.

“I know we can step up to this huge challenge and be there when our members need us most. Public-service workers are going above and beyond to protect our loved ones and keep our communities safely functioning.

“Supporting them and campaigning for their protection is the priority of our union at this trying time; the priority for all our structures, our regions, our branches, our staff and our activists.

“I am so proud that our union is working so hard for our members and for public service workers in general.”

UNISON has led the call – along with the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Midwives – for a minute’s silence this week to honour key workers who have died from coronavirus.

The three health unions have asked the country to observe the silence at 11am on Thursday, April 28th, International Workers’ Memorial Day, in a campaign launched today.

The government has not yet officially taken up the proposal, but a Downing Street spokesperson this morning said “we are actively looking at it and we think that it is a good idea”.

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