spotArguments for socialism




spotAround the UK

All keywords

All People subcategories:


International figures

Labour Party figures




Other UK politicans

* Socialist Party and CWI public figures

Tory figures

Trade union figures


Writers and artists

Socialist Party and CWI public figures keywords:

Andrew Price (3)

Bernard Roome (2)

Brian Debus (47)

Chris Baugh (95)

Dave Nellist (231)

Glenn Kelly (71)

Hannah Sell (114)

Hugo Pierre (40)

John Macreadie (11)

John Reid (35)

Ken Douglas (4)

Kevin Bennett (27)

Lawanya (2)

Martin Powell-Davies (100)

Mary Jackson (12)

Mick Cotter (2)

Onay Kasab (75)

Paul Couchman (19)

Peter Taaffe (195)

Rob Williams (127)

Rob Windsor (34)

Robbie Segal (17)

Roger Bannister (95)

Suzanne Muna (46)

Terry Fields (11)

Tony Mulhearn (136)

Tony Saunois (22)

Hugo Pierre

Highlight keywords  |Print this articlePrint this article
From: The Socialist issue 1110, 18 November 2020: Tories in turmoil... ‘Reset’ the whole system! Fight for socialism

Search site for keywords: Unison - Women - Workers - Unions - Trade unions - Pay - Jobs - Hugo Pierre - Cuts

Why I am backing Hugo Pierre for Unison general secretary

Women workers need strong trade unions to defend their jobs, pay and services

Tower Hamlets workers striking against the Labour council's 'fire and re-hire' policy

Tower Hamlets workers striking against the Labour council's 'fire and re-hire' policy   (Click to enlarge)

A probation hostel residential worker and Unison member (personal capacity)

"It's bedlam at the care home", said one care worker, my neighbour and Unison member. She went on to say: "They admitted three more patients at the weekend. We have never been so full. Some residents are not dressed and brought downstairs until the afternoon, because there aren't enough chairs for them to sit on. And they haven't taken on any more staff. We're exhausted and we've had enough."

She clearly expressed the pressures on staff, mainly women, across the public and private sector. NHS workers reeling from the first Covid wave are battling the second wave with inadequate resources. They are exhausted and war-weary. The government can't even promise nurses a decent pay rise.

All workers, and particularly women workers, given their roles in capitalist society as both caregivers and workers, need strong trade unions to defend their jobs, pay, conditions and services.

Unison has over a million women members. The general secretary election in Unison gives women members the opportunity to vote for a candidate that will mobilise members to defend pay and conditions, to fight for more resources, and against any further cuts in services.

Failed leadership

The preferred candidate of the outgoing Prentis leadership is Christine McAnea, aiming to be the first woman leader of the union. But that leadership failed to seriously fight austerity, which meant big numbers of women workers lost their jobs and livelihoods and the services they relied on.

Only Socialist Party member Hugo Pierre has pledged to fight on a platform against austerity and to defend the jobs, pay and conditions of women workers in Unison.

The burden of over a decade of austerity in Britain has left women in an increasingly precarious position. Cuts to public services have had a disproportionate impact on women. Amnesty International estimates that between 2010 and 2018 women shouldered 86% of the burden of austerity measures. Add to that the impact of the Covid pandemic, and women have been placed on the front line at home, at work and as service users.

And there will be worse to come, with an economic crisis exacerbated by the pandemic, unless an effective resistance is conducted by the trade union movement.

Single mothers and women from ethnic minority backgrounds have been hit particularly badly by austerity. Even before the pandemic, black and Asian households were expected to see drops in living standards of around 19-20% from 2010 to 2020. And it was forecast that the income of single mothers would drop by 18%.

The nightmare of domestic violence has been made worse by cuts in services, refuges, and lockdowns, with no way out for vulnerable women.

The hospitality and other sectors worst hit by government Covid measures also employ a majority of women, so they are likely to suffer huge cuts in pay and hours, and job losses.

However, women have shown that they are amongst the most determined fighters when a call to action is made.

The Glasgow equal pay strike demonstrated that. Trade unions and lawyers representing 13,000 Glasgow council workers reached an agreement worth around £500 million, to end the equal pay injustice suffered by low-paid women workers for over a decade.

The city shook

The decisive catalyst for this breakthrough was the impact of the 8,000-strong 48-hour strike, by the workers and their trade unions in 2018, which shook the city. This was an historic turning point in the fight for equal pay. Determined action recruits members like nothing else. Trade union membership grew in the dispute and a new energised layer of shop stewards and activists emerged from it.

This Tory government, despite its large majority in parliament, is weak and divided. It has already done so many U-turns, it must be dizzy. With a fighting, campaigning leadership, prepared to oppose all cuts, Unison members could play a vital role in forcing major concessions to defend workers' jobs, wages, and conditions.

Hugo Pierre has a proud record of fighting on issues of concern to women. As a Unison schools convenor in Camden, he successfully helped organise the campaign to save Hampden Nursery. Hugo worked alongside parents and staff to demand that the Labour council refuse to cut its Early Years' budget by £600,000.

Hugo also organised with school kitchen workers in Camden in a successful 18-month long campaign where they won the London Living Wage. This victory came after unanimous votes for industrial action forced management to negotiate - without a single strike day becoming necessary.

By actively campaigning and involving members, Hugo helped take the struggle into all the school kitchens. Building union membership and recruiting keen and energetic shop stewards was an important part of the strategy.

Hugo has fought alongside others for Unison members to take national action against school funding cuts.

He would organise a national fight against further cuts from 'Covid austerity' in local councils. He stands for no cuts to services, jobs, pay and conditions, and calls on Labour councillors to refuse to vote for cuts.

As a residential worker in a probation hostel, I have experienced the detrimental impact of contracting out services to the private sector. The system is inefficient and expensive, and puts the health and safety of workers at risk, when essential maintenance work is not done. Hugo is campaigning to bring public services back in-house, with full collective bargaining, and national terms and conditions.

Hugo also stands for

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation £


Your message: 


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793



Alphabetical listing

June 2021

May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021