A million voices for public services

My dad came home from work with something unusual last week – a magazine called U. It is published by UNISON. They believe public services are the heart and soul of our communities and in reaction to the recession, we see public serves under threat.

UNISON took its message to the heart of Westminster yesterday as part of its Million Voices campaign.  More than 100 MPs accepted their invitation to hear from members just how important the work they do is, and why investment in these services is vital during a recession.

Dave Prentis introduced the campaign, talking about how members are “helping individuals, families and communities get through this recession. They’re laying the foundations for a better future – a fairer, stronger society.”

Introducing seven UNISON members, who came to tell their stories to the Westminster MPs, he explained that “as we look forward to the pre-Budget report this week, and a hard-fought election campaign to come, everyone’s got something to say about public services…

“But unfortunately it’s not often we hear the voices for those who actually provide the services.”

And with this introduction seven UNISON members took to the stage.

Sue Warner, a cook supervisor from Matlock, won cheers as she told the audience about the organic beef and pork her kitchen serves. “We were way ahead of Jamie Oliver. Because we’re in house all the money goes on food.”

Kim Russell, a teaching assistant from Wales, ran through a staggering list of work she undertakes, including mini bus driver, running an after school cookery club and school librarian.

Other members speaking up included a child social worker, a psychiatric nurse and a ward housekeeper.

Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, thanked members for driving the campaign: “your words speak more powerfully than we ever could.

Add your voice to our campaign to create a fairer society. I did because I want to see changes that put people before profit and public interest before private greed.