Introducing the strategy to the Annual Delegate Meeting in Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary said:
“What a year it has been in politics. A lot has happened, and yet sometimes it feels like nothing has changed. We still have a reckless and incompetent Conservative Government that is in office but not in power, propped up by the DUP.
“We still have a Government that blunders on with its shambolic Brexit negotiations,
trying to deliver a hard Brexit that gives no guarantees or protections to working people and will make us poorer. And we still have a Government that refuses to listen to our concerns around the growth of in-work poverty and the plight of working people in this country.
“Over the next year things must change and we must be the ones who force that change. This Tory Government is hurting our members and making a mess of governing the country. We need to be ready for a General Election whenever it comes, because working people need a Labour Government, a Government committed to delivering the real and meaningful change our members need.
“But we can't wait for an election to make our voice heard, or to try and deliver change for our members. That’s why, since I became General Secretary, the Union has stepped up its activity and launched two major campaigns. The first was loudly and proudly saying it is ‘Time for Better Pay’, to raise the profile and put pressure for action to address the national scandal of in-work poverty. The second was ‘Save Our Shops’, to make the case to the public and the Government that retail jobs matter and that we need to tackle the crisis of our high streets.
“But I know we need to go further. We need a new, joined up approach to campaigning, bringing together the industrial and the political, increasing the engagement and activism of our entire membership. We need to support our members who want to have their voice heard in politics. We need to put in place the resources to deliver a comprehensive strategy for political engagement that puts encouragement, training and support at its heart.
“I want to see the Union do more to support and encourage Usdaw's political activists. Further developing this strong foundation will give the Union a stronger political voice. Over the next year, you will see the development of a serious, targeted and resourced programme of political activism and engagement. Linking up with the Labour Party and our key seats. Taking Usdaw members with us. Explaining how politics affects their lives. Encouraging them to get involved and breaking down the barriers to allow them to do so. To highlight the national scourge of in-work poverty and the crisis enveloping our high streets and at the same time prepare the groundwork for a General Election and the election of a Labour Government.”
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers)
is the UK's fifth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 420,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news
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