Dear Tories … why has it taken a global epidemic for you to appreciate trade unions?

Dear Tories,

It’s taken a global epidemic for you to realise trade unionists keep the country running.

Not the bankers, the hedge fund managers or the chief executives whose wages over the last two years increased by 986% more than the typical worker, but the man and woman on the street, in your hospitals, schools and shops, libraries and leisure centres, driving your trains and buses, looking after your children, your sick, your elderly, your prisoners, emptying your bins, delivering your post … all tirelessly serving the public day after day.

After a decade of telling public servants they do not deserve a pay rise, of taking away unions’ democratic rights, of whitewashing workers’ rights over Brexit, of charging people for Employment Tribunals, of taking away workers’ right to pay their union subscriptions direct from their salary, of failing to protect human rights abuses at work, of discriminating against your own staff, of failing to ban zero hours contracts, of trying to make firefighters work 96-hour shifts, of deporting the Windrush generation, of whitewashing the assault of miners at Orgreave, of failing to stop blacklisting, of attacking legal aid, of supporting rail firms in their campaign to kick guards off trains, of denying prison officers’ the right to strike, of privatising social care, of trying to privatise NHS workers, of cutting firefighters’ budgets with deadly consequences, and of chronically under-funding the NHS, you have realised you might need us after all, that we’re ‘key’ workers.

We’re happy to help you in this hour of need because that’s what we do. But we won’t let you forget how you treated us. We are 6.3m. We are everywhere. We are not just part of society. We ARE society.

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