Coleman Macha is our wonderful Black Members Officer for the branch; here is his story of getting involved with UNISON…
When I first took up my full time job I was provided information about joining UNISON. At the time, I thought this is the kind of thing you do when starting a full time job. That was it… didn’t think anything else about it.
After a long period of time, I participated in the job evaluation process twice; some staff were asked to take compulsory redundancies. At the time, a rep from UNISON visited my place of work to explain all about austerity and our rights as members of UNISON. This was an eye opener for me.
After a meeting with a rep, I found that I could become active by joining a self-organised group such as Black Members, which I’m a member of today. This has opened up opportunities, such as meeting other black members within the region and nationally.
I feel that UNISON have given me a platform to talk about issues such as racism without fear. I always feel that I have the backing from my union. I am also learning about employment law and my rights as a worker.
Now with Brexit and immigration issues, I feel that I need a platform to express my thoughts about it. UNISON have given me an opportunity to discuss such matters during our conferences and branch meetings.
I have also recently discovered that through UNISON, you can get opportunities to take up courses and get a discount on fees. This again empowers members to be able to participate in staff development programs, where in some places of work they don’t exist.