I have been a trade unionist all my working life as I believe that trade union membership is the best way of ensuring fairness at work for employees. Similarly, I have been a member of the Labour Party for the majority of my adult life. As a socialist, I believe that the Labour Party’s values of equality, fairness and the need to build a society for the many not the few, are values I hold dear.
Whilst I’ve been an active trade unionist for many years, I’d never considered seeking election as a Labour councillor before. However, the Tories’ assault on our public services has changed that for me. I see every day in my trade union role the effect that the Tories’ devastating cuts are having in my workplace. But, living in Trafford which is currently controlled by the Tories, I also see the same brutal cuts in my own community every single day: the cutbacks in our local schools, libraries, leisure facilities. I worry about the state of our public services as my young granddaughter grows up.
I know I make a difference as a UNISON representative, so I decided I needed to try to make a difference as a Labour councillor. Many of the skills I’ve developed as a UNISON Branch Officer - listening to people, trying to resolve their issues, making a case for them - will be the same skills needed to be a good councillor. I have been selected as a Labour candidate and I am now hoping to be elected on 3rd May - but more importantly I hope I can be a part of taking control of Trafford Council from the Tories and starting to reverse years of Tory cuts, under-funding and privatisation.
Jane Slater is Assistant Branch Secretary of Manchester UNISON Branch