In a special UnionDues podcast, Simon chats with Melissa Ansell-Bridges, General Secretary of the New Zealand Council of trade Unions about the prospects and possibilities for workers following NZ Labour’s stunning election victory last month. High on the agenda is delivery of sector-based Fair Pay Agreements which could revolutionise both the union movement and working conditions – but reform of laws on employment status are also a key part of the equation. It’s all to play for! Read the companion blog for more. A Makes-You-Think production
In this special episode, Simon chats with Brian Denny, curator of the Working River collection of songs and music from those who live and work on the Thames. And what a journey it is.
Although most of the action is in London and Essex, the 21 songs take us the entire length of the river – an emotional and political roller-coaster with tales of poetry and literature, music and the arts, industry and empire. But also, of poverty and strife, struggles and strikes, insurrection and inspiration, from the Nore mutiny to SS Windrush .
A mixture of well-established and new tales from musicians of great skill and passion. But the story behind the album is just as fascinating, for folk music novices and afficionados alike.
As Brian says, folk music is not only “three chords and the truth” but “a living tradition reflecting the lives of working people which are often overlooked.”
Working River – Songs and music of the Thames is available as a CD or download from Folktree recordings. There’s a great illustrated commentary from Brian and all proceeds go to the GFTU educational trust – a good cause indeed.
The latest UnionDues podcast takes us on an epic industrial journey through the twenteens as seen through the eyes of the Communication Workers’ Union’s 100,000 plus postal members.
Deputy General Secretary Terry Pullinger talks us through a story of privatisation, the rarity of legally binding collective agreements, hello to a destructive new CEO, two massive Yes votes for strike action, good-bye to afore-mentioned CEO, and the challenge of being key workers in a pandemic that’s like a war.
Also in this episode, an update on the campaign to save Unionlearn in England as some Conservatives lambast the CBI over firm-level training, gloves off over BT plans for compulsory redundancies, and USDAW’s plea to Welsh shoppers.
Companion blogpost here. UnionDues is part of the Labor Radio Podcast Network of over 70 union-related podcasts, accessible via the LRPN portal. You can also stream or download this and all episodes here. Contact the show at email@example.com or @DuesUnion.
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Covid has dramatically changed the notion of work and workplaces. The growth of “super surveillance” was established before the pandemic hit, but the upsurge in home and remote working has been a massive accelerant. In the latest episode of UnionDues, Simon is joined by Christina Colclough, director of the Why Not lab which looks at the future of work from the workers’ perspective: What can, should and must unions do to safeguard their members, and what’s likely to happen if they don’t.
In the latest UnionDues podcast episode, Simon chats with Becky Wright, Executive Director of the Unions21 “think and do” tank. What will unions look like after Covid? What lessons will we learn? That’s the aim of Becky’s new research project (with help from SPERI and ACTU), and we’re all invited to take part.
We also talk pivoting to deliver services and support on-line during the pandemic, why new members are an untapped organising resource, what is strategic corporate research and why you should use it, why member engagement can’t work in isolation – and nor can a digital strategy.
In this episode of the UnionDues podcast we feature an in-depth conversation with Scottish TUC General Secretary Rozanne Foyer. Roz took up office in February 2020 and is the 13th holder of the post – and first woman appointed to it.
We covered a lot of ground in our discussion – the Better Than Zero campaign to bring collective voice and action to precarious workers, how Covid has caused a fundamental rethink of what organising means in a period of social distancing and lockdown, working with the Scottish Government, and the ever-present question if Scottish independence – or not.
There’s time to for Roz to share her trade union journey, from very junior civil servant, via chair of the STUC’s Youth Committee, co-hosting a session at the centenary STUC Congress with the legendary Mick McGahey, to the hopes for the role she now holds. As you’ll hear – the glass is definitely and defiantly half-full. Read the companion blogpost A Makes-You-Think production.
Simon assesses the prospects for growing unionisation of the self-employed, looking at the greater appetite for collective voice and belief that more can be achieved by working together on issues that matter most. Established and new unions are reporting a new enthusiasm with NUJ recruitment up by as much as 60%, and new actors such as The Creator Union coming onto the stage.
But this should be no surprise. The self-employed sector now accounts for 1 in 6 of UK workers, some 5 million people. And 40% of them are on poverty pay. And as becomes sadly clear, the lack of diversity in the creative industries is no accident – and that makes action on inclusivity imperative.
Timestamps- NUJ - 2m55s, Community - 11m23s, TCU - 19m04s, Bectu - 31m13s
In the latest episode of the UnionDues podcast, Simon chats with Equity National Industrial Organiser Jamie Briers about the relationship between catwalks and unions – epitomised by Equity’s agreement with London Fashion Week’s host – the British Fashion Council.
The fashion industry is worth £35bn a year to the UK economy and employs nearly 900,000 people. And London Fashion Week, taking place right now, is a globally important event..
We also talk about the existential crisis facing British Theatre – and why the £1.5bn aid package from government was nowhere near enough and how the union with others launched a comprehensive campaign to save the sector.
Shavanah Taj on social partnership and movement building, and Congress 2020 - stop gap or springboard?
This week’s episode of UnionDues, Simon spends time in the company of Shavanah Taj, who heads up the Wales TUC and takes a look at what the annual TUC Congress can learn from changes forced upon it by the Covid pandemic. Companion blog here .
The latest UnionDues episode goes behind the scenes at the General Federation of Trade Unions – the GFTU is 120 years old, has nearly 50 affiliates and a great track record of building and supporting unions and activists. (Our podcast with Rebecca Winson last series is also relevant here).
The report by Karon Monaghan QC into sexual discrimination and sexism concerns in the GMB is a distressing and deeply disappointing read. It is publicly available on the union’s website and an apology has been promptly issued by the union’s President. We ask what happens next?
Finally, we look back to a union recruitment drive from 60 years ago when the then National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers commissioned legendary singer, songwriter and activist Ewan MacColl to record a song for them. Hear the tune and the background to it on the show.