As an active young disabled member of Unison, I fully support the need for continued trade union education at local trade union study centres. As you may be aware all funding will go in 2017.
I feel so strongly that this must not happen, as Unison is the biggest union in the country we need to show our support for our brothers and sisters, their fight is our fight!
As a member of Unison I have undertaken many courses at the trade union studies unit at Shrewsbury College which were free. Beginning with Reps stage 1 right up to Employment Law diploma.
Being able to access these courses at my local centre in Shrewsbury has been invaluable as I get tired when travelling too far and the staff support is second to none.
I feel we need to ensure funds are available to keep these training centres open, because without these local centres I would not of gained the knowledge and confidence as a result of meeting loads of people from different unions and workplaces, I know this would not be possible on a Unison course.
Every course I have been on, I have met reps from many different unions, we catch up and update each other with new ideas. At the local trade union studies unit in Shrewsbury, I am accepted as a person before my disability. The broad spread of views and knowledge inspires and empowers me, I don’t get this from attending a Unison course. At the local centre the networking is key, without that you can’t build a movement.
My confidence has excelled and I feel ready to take on the world, but this can only be maintained with continued support of the trade union studies unit in a tutor lead, classroom based training facility with cross sector support, really enhancing the experience of new reps coming along, it means they become real activists, not just obtaining a qualification. I know I did…. and who would have thought it from Unison member to Secretary of Shropshire and Telford TUC.
We need to be able to give new reps that experience and facilitate their transition to activists and organisers, who will be empowered to protect worker’s terms and conditions.