A NEW union branch has launched in Wirral to help support jobless people.
Wirral Unite Community Branch was launched on Friday, April 13, at Wirral TUC Unemployed Workers Centre in Birkenhead.
The union, in establishing a new category of community membership, aims to organise unwaged people.
And TUC boss Alec McFadden says its creation comes at a time when it is badly needed.
Mr McFadden, Unite member and Secretary of Wirral TUC, said: “This is a long overdue initiative.
“People in work have got their union to protect their rights but unemployed, students and retired people are left to their own devices.
“Many union members who lose their job will also lose their right to be involved in their union. Community Branches will fill the vacuum and organise unemployed people at a time when thousands are losing their jobs.”
People from a wide range of backgrounds attended the launch event on Friday: students, unemployed, retired and people on long-term sickness.
Membership costs 50p per week and union representatives say the branches such as the one launched in Wirral take inspiration from successful alternative models of organisation such as, the unemployed workers movement from the 1920s and 30s, American community activism and direct action recently promoted by students, UkUncut and others.
Liane Groves, Unite National Campaign officer, Brian Nelson, Wirral Unite Official and Tom Mellish from the National TUC were at the event.
At the launch, discussions took place about changes to the benefits system.
Mr McFadden said: “As of April 30, there will be a reduction in amount of money given to people who have been on sickness and incapacity benefit for more than a year. This is an absolute disgrace.
“These are people who are sick from work, people with mental health problems, former miners with lung problems.”
For more information, contact the new Branch Secretary Morag Reid on email@example.com