31/12/2009 - New Year message from the General Secretary

A Happy New Year?
I hope you all  had a merry Christmas despite the recession and were able to scrape together enough for a decent celebration. One thing is for certain - the bosses and political class aren't wishing working people a Happy New Year. According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development employers are set to decide to raise productivity and reduce labour costs, leading to "tough times" ahead for British workplaces. What this means is that Bosses (including those in the Public Sector) plan to sack or lay-off workers and pressurise those remaining to work harder for the same, or even less, money. It also means that they will seek to worsen working conditions to increase profits.
In the next year things are going to be very difficult for working people. The same Institute predicts that unemployment will continue to rise by at least a quarter of a million before the end of June. They also add a caveat:  "if there was a more immediate cut in public spending, which could be the case if the Conservatives gain power at the general election due in the first half of 2010, unemployment might peak at a higher rate than we currently forecast" .

CIPD economic adviser Dr John Philpott ends by saying that private-sector employers will seek to contain wage costs, while public-sector employers will have "fast-shrinking budgets and mass job downsizing".
So that is what the bosses and political class have in store for workers. But we don't have to follow their agenda. We don't have to sit there worrying that our jobs are going to be scrapped, our homes are going to be repossessed and our future mortgaged for a generation to bail out a pack of overpaid and underachieving bankers.
We have both political and economic choices.You must exercise your own judgement on politics. As a Union our focus is defending the rights of our members and workers generally. That means that we will fight tooth and nail to prevent or minimise the effects of the recession on our members. We will oppose redundancies, stand in the way of unfair dismissals and argue against any detrimental change in working conditions. In addition we will publicise alternative options. For example the Government is cutting jobs at HMRC but losing a fortune for the public purse as a result of tax evasion and avoidance. We have also represented workers at Benefits appeals and hearings (part of our work which is likely to expand). Every time a member is under attack we will mount a defence.
In the last year we have achieved a lot for members. We could, with more resources, have done more. We are still learning and improving but we have provided representation at all levels. We have won significant settlements and progressed cases to Tribunals. All this in the face of attempts at manipulated internal disruption and the hostility of some employers and Labour Party Unions.
Solidarity has kept membership fees low so that even in tough times it is affordable - just £5 a month. In tough times you need the protection, advice and guidance that a Union offers.  If you are not already a member I urge you to join with us and resolve this year that you and your family are not going to be the victims of the bosses and establishment. It's a simple New Year resolution.
Together we are strong!
Pat Harrington
General Secretary
Solidarity Trade Union,