Christmas is almost upon us once again. It's a time for most of us to gather with our friends, our families and our loved ones, exchange gifts with one-another and take stock of the year we will shortly leave behind. As Christmas approaches I am reminded of the words of Mary the mother of Jesus, who spoke of a heavenly Father who 'has brought down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things and the rich he has sent empty away'. That's the opposite of what's happening in this country in 2014.
The coming year looks even bleaker for ordinary British workers as we approach the general election next May. George Osborne claims to have turned the country around as he tells us that ordinary workers and their dependants are going to suffer from savage cuts in services and benefits over the next five years. He blusters that more and more people are now in employment but overlooks the fact that most of these jobs are low-paying minimum wage post and not all of these are full-time. Zero-hour contracts and temporary agency jobs are becoming more common in order to deny workers rights that trade unionists fought to establish a century ago.
The ConDem coalition is leading us back towards conditions not seen in this country since the 1930s. Workers and would-be jobseekers suffer while the government's sponsors and cronies in the City of London and the big banks carry on with enriching themselves at our expense. The rich and privileged are becoming richer and more powerful and the poor are becoming poorer.
In the past year some of our members have had to turn to Solidarity the Union for support in workplace disputes. Many settlements come attached with confidentiality clauses so we are unable to shout from the rooftops exactly how we have been able to help these particular members. However, they know who they are and where they would be this Christmas if they had not been able to call upon their union to represent them at various meetings and hearings over the past few months.
Let's all enjoy the break over the Christmas period and do all in our power to build up our union in 2015 when Solidarity will reach the tenth anniversary of its foundation. Invite your family and friends to join. Remind them that isolation leads to exploitation and victimisation. Solidarity overcomes adversity. Together we are strong. On behalf of the Executive Committee I wish all our members and supporters a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.