Chair’s blog – January 2021

Published January 14, 2021 at 14:57

Let’s vaccinate the borough

2020 was, to say the least, an extremely difficult year, perhaps the toughest year in living memory. 2021 has started as frantic with the announcement of a new national lockdown.

It has left people worried and anxious for themselves and their families.

Once again, our members at the Council, in schools and nurseries and in the community & voluntary sector are rising to the challenge. As a branch we continue to support our members on the many issues that COVID brings as well as issues we have always dealt with.

While times are grim, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The vaccination programme gives us hope during these bleak times. As such, we have resolved as a branch to do whatever we can to support the programme.

Our members are already heavily involved in supporting the NHS to deliver the programme but as individuals there are lots of things we can do to support this collective effort.

  1. Get vaccinated yourself, when it is your turn.  And tell everyone that you got vaccinated – and why. Because you want your life back. Because you care about your workmates, your family, your community. Encourage others to get vaccinated. Help friends find reliable info on the local NHS resource Healthier Lancs and South Cumbria :: Covid Vaccinations (
  2. Volunteer to help the vaccination programme. Healthier Lancs and South Cumbria :: Jobs and volunteering (
  3. Ask your family, friends and colleagues to speak out for vaccination.
  4. Support vaccination on social media


General Secretary election

On behalf of the branch, I want to congratulate Christina McAnea on her election as the next general secretary.

She is Unison’s first female general secretary and we look forward to working with her. Also commiseration to Paul Holmes, the candidate this branch nominated. He fought a very good campaign and came a respectable second with a good vote share.

Thanks for everyone who took the time to vote.

Rolls Royce

 You have seen that following weeks of strike action, workers at the Rolls Royce factory a Barnoldswick have won a battle to keep the plant open.

The dispute over the job cuts has been resolved following a deal which gives the factory a new lease of life.

It is a shining example of what can be achieved when everyone collectively comes together through a trade union and fights.

They showed courage and determination.

I am delighted for the workers, their families and the wider community which would have been devastated by the job losses.

COVID voucher initiative

This week, we have also joined with Unite to make a joint statement about the Council’s Mall voucher scheme for staff. It was upsetting to see the Council receive some negative comments for proposing the scheme so we wanted to make clear we supported the initiative.

I, along with our branch’s secretary Denise Wilkins and Unite’s branch secretary, Ros Billingham, made the following statement:

As local trade unionists, we welcome this initiative to give a £50 voucher to members of staff. Staff have responded brilliantly to the crisis delivering essential services, protecting the most vulnerable and supporting communities under extremely difficult circumstances. It is the right thing to do to give them recognition.

Other councils are also doing similar initiatives.

Our members often feel undervalued especially as the national media are constantly pushing a negative narrative of councils and their staff.

It’s a small token but it is one which will be well received. Our members are also pleased that it is going back into the local economy.

We will always challenge the Council when we think they have got it wrong. On this occasion, we fully support this gesture.

Ben Greenwood, Branch Chair





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