UNISON is leading the fight against the fight against privatisation of ambulance services in Manchester.
Manchester branch members have been out in force raising awareness of the issue and gathering signatures for the petition.
We speak to one of the leaders of the campaign, Northwest Regional Treasurer and Stockport Branch Secretary Angela Rayner.
Name: Angela Rayner
Job: Branch Secretary – Stockport Branch
How long have you been a member of the union?
What do you like about your role in UNISON?
No two days are ever the same. I get to make a real difference to people’s lives.
Whereabouts do you live?
Stockport, I grew up in a socially deprived area of the Borough.
Where would you want to live?
I love Manchester it feels like home and I always miss it when I’m away. I think we live in the best City.
Best thing about UNISON?
Being part of a community that cares. Anyone regardless of their background have things to contribute and you can really make a difference in shaping the future of public services. We campaign on important community issues like the one I am leading on now regarding the Patient Transport Services (PTS). The non-emergency ambulances being sold off from the NHS to a private bus company based on profit and cost and not quality. UNISON have organised the community group so they have the resources to fight against these attacks which accumulates in a lobby of parliament with our General Secretary and the Shadow Health Minister Andy Burnham MP on 10th December in London. We have coaches so everyone in Manchester who wants to come along and get involved can do.
Who or what is your inspiration?
My inspiration is the human spirit and our ability to do extraordinary things. I am proud to be part of a movement that was formed as part of the class struggle that has improved ordinary working people’s lives and standards of living from as far back as the days of the industrial revolution. I look up to strong political women such as Barbara Castle and Julia Gillard.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I am very passionate and sometimes react with my heart before putting brain in gear.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Idleness and excuses for lack of motivation.
If you were Prime Minister, what would you do first?
Policy wise I would put a halt to the privatisation and marketization of our NHS. I would make Public Sector the preferred bidder in all procurement processes for government contracts. I would stop the demonization of people out of work on disability benefits. I would look at introducing a fairer taxation system so that the people at the top pay more and that we assist the ‘squeezed middle earners’ who are struggling to pay for their bills and can’t get benefits or assistance. Physically I would walk round all the floors and speak to all the staff including the cleaners & porters (who tend to know everything that’s goes on in a building!).
What superpower would you like?
The ability to freeze time would be great.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever done? What’s your ideal job?
My worse job was cash in hand when I was 18 selling roses around pubs and clubs to make ends meet when I had a young baby to look after. It was long hours during the night for very little pay and I was exhausted all the time. My ideal job is highly paid and dealing with people, as I like interaction. I also like problem solving and challenges.
Favourite holiday destination, film, drink, football club?
My favourite holiday would be warm but not too hot with lots of culture and history. I like to be active and as a ginger I don’t sun worship. My favourite film is Forest Gump. Drink is tea and football club is my local team Stockport County.
What was your best day at work and your worst?
Best day at work is when I win a case for someone or achieve something with collective bargaining to the benefit of our members. My worst is when I lost a case and not on merit.
Why do unions matter?
Without a trade union you lose your collective voice and strength in the workplace. Even non-unionised workplaces have benefits from the trade union movement with statutory laws we have lobbied for and gained through legal cases, holiday entitlement, pay increases, unfair dismissal protection, equality, health and safety. The list goes on. The trade unions are at the forefront of community campaigns and international issues including human rights, Gaza, Colombia, Fair Trade, migration, workers rights internationally, anti-racism, and also Green economies and global warming. Unionised workplaces have better pay, pensions, terms and conditions.
For more information on how you can help in the campaign against ambulance privatisation visit: savemanchesterpatienttransport.org