The public service union UNISON has seen record numbers of new members joining during the coronavirus crisis, with the union saying public service workers are increasingly seeking “support and security”.
UNISON has grown by almost 16,000 members since the start of the year, according to the latest figures released by the union, which now has a total of 1.3 million members.
According to the union, which represents staff who provide public services in the public and private sector, the rise in membership took place mostly across March and early April. Almost a third of new members (nearly 5,000) were the result of people working in schools joining the union, as fears rise about the re-opening of schools.
Speaking about the rise in member numbers, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said:
People are joining the union for advice and security at this worrying time. And they are turning to UNISON because our workplace reps and activists are second to none.
I know we can step up to this huge challenge and be there when our members need us most. Public-service workers are going above and beyond to protect our loved ones and keep our communities safely functioning.
Supporting them and campaigning for their protection is the priority of our union at this trying time; the priority for all our structures, our regions, our branches, our staff and our activists.
I am so proud that our union is working so hard for our members and for public service workers in general.
UNISON leads calls for a minute’s silence to honour key workers who have lost their lives
UNISON are leading calls for the nation to observe a minute’s silence for key workers who have lost their lives in the battle against COVID-19.
The union has joined forces with the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Midwives to ask politicians, employers, people at work and the millions of people in self-isolation to join the special tribute at 11am on Tuesday 28 April.
The unions said they have scheduled the minute’s silence to be held on International Workers’ Memorial Day, which is an annual international event commemorating workers’ who have died.
The government has not yet officially taken up the proposal, but a Downing Street spokesperson said today: “We are actively looking at it and we think that it is a good idea”.