Opinion Former Video

VoicetheUnion: Why is our union different?

Members of teaching union Voice explain why their union is so special. 


I’m Deborah Lawson, I’m the general secretary of Voice. Voice is a union of education professionals. We are different to many other unions in that we do not go on strike; we prefer the strength of negotiation rather than industrial action.
We believe that whether our members are working in education, or childcare, they are all professionals. They want, need, and deserve to have their employment rights protected. But that should not be at the expense of the children, pupils, and students for whom they are responsible. And our members tell us they don’t want them disadvantaged in order to secure what is rightfully  theirs.
My name is Andy Garwood, I’m the regional officer for London and the south east of England. I would be supporting a number of teachers in the south east or London. I might be supporting them in a tribunal, or possibly redundancy. Or sometimes a capability, or absence management meeting. I used to be a teacher, in a secondary school, and I believe very passionately that teachers and support staff should not withdraw their labour. I’ve always been very passionate about teaching, I love teaching, and if someone’s been away from school, and they’re finding it hard to get back to school, then very often they need two or three meetings to help them get back. In some cases, one is rebuilding their confidence, which has been knocked for a while. I think Voice is one of the most personal unions. We actually do make a difference; we do care more than some of the other unions, we have a personal touch.
My name is Tricia Pritchard, and I’m a senior professional officer at Voice. My main responsibility is supporting our members through childcare in the early years. It is about being able to support people; being able to get them to a position where they can help themselves. Often it isn’t necessarily that they are there in trouble or being accused of anything. Often they want to just stand up for themselves and fight their corner, and if you can give them that information then they can go off and they can help themselves. People should choose Voice because we are an independent trade union, and therefore we can offer a personal touch. We get to know our members, and we think that is important. To the member, it can be all consuming and quite threatening, what we have to do is calm that member, and with our help they can get through this.
I’m Dougie Atkinson. I’m a professional officer with Voice in Edinbugh. I’m passionate about delivering a person service to our members. By helping them I believe we can make a real difference. The way we support our members in Scotland is by living our core values as a truly independent trade union, and by treating every member as unique; by supporting children and protecting ourselves. Our strengths lie in negotiation - never industrial action. Being a member of Voice is more than being a member of a trade union.

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