A new era in UNISON Cymru/Wales

UNISON Cymru/Wales regional secretary Jess Turner
Incoming UNISON Cymru/Wales regional secretary (pictured above) Jess Turner, wrote to members to talk about her priorities:

I’m excited to be the new leader of UNISON in Wales and I want to say hello and describe what I’ll be focusing on and how, with your help, we can make sure members’ voices are heard.

More than ever, in this cost-of-living crisis when governments don’t seem to be listening, you need to know your union is at your side.

Three things are essential for me in the campaigning we do:

• We’re well aware of the excellent work you do every day, but we need to improve people’s awareness of the vital role of public service workers – just as we did in the pandemic when it became the norm to thank essential workers.

• Public services should not be run for profit.

• Challenging discrimination, promoting equality of access and opportunity must be at the heart of everything we do.

Women make up nearly 80% of UNISON’s membership.

Working alongside school support staff, care workers and healthcare staff over the years, I’ve seen how in-work poverty damages lives and how traditional ‘female’ work has been scandalously undervalued.

Together, we will continue to challenge this.

I’m a working parent and I worry about what sort of Wales we want our kids to live in and the public services they will inherit.

I also believe that we need to harness the energy of the next generation of workers to make the union movement stronger.

They too, must see joining UNISON as the best way to take control of their working lives, to advance equality, take on bad employers and campaign for climate justice.

I’m passionate about taking the message of the importance of trade union membership into schools, so that young people not only understand our history but can help shape the future of unions in Wales.

Throughout my 17 years working for UNISON I’ve been privileged to meet many of our members and I’m always amazed by the professionalism and commitment of those who provide essential public services.

I understand that our union needs to offer a voice for those who are often ignored by politicians and the media.

That’s why it’s so important that our volunteers – our networks of representatives – come from every part of public services, to have a voice in their workplace and in deciding on the policies which guide our work.

I want all members to feel empowered to play a part in UNISON in Wales. However big or small, there’s a role for all of us.