Saturday’s Dorset Trades Union Council’s Summer Celebration has been hailed a success as hundreds of people gathered in the sun for a day of songs, speakers and solidarity.

The event, held in Dorchester’s Borough Gardens, was organised as a thank you and to recognise the commitment and dedication of all workers, particularly those who continued to work during the pandemic and those who lost their lives as result, over the last few years.

The programme also celebrated the positive role that trades unions play in the battle for good-quality jobs, strong public services and a safe, sustainable environment. 

Families and friends attended the event and, in warm sunshine and a relaxed atmosphere, danced to live music from Theo Muzi and Banda, from Brazil, along with local choir Dorset Red, radical poet Dylan Ross and skiffle / punk legends John D Revelator. 

Opening the programme, Ali Chown, President of DTUC, recognised that trades unions are facing difficult negotiations as they seek to gain pay rises for workers that reflect current economic hardships facing families, ensure terms and conditions which uphold safety standards  for both workers and service users. 

Ali said “It is becoming increasingly clear that, despite the disruption caused, there is growing support from the public for industrial action such as that being taken by the RMT as they see their services eroded and fares rise whilst companies make increased profits and the gap between rich and poor widens even more.”  

Steve Preddy, South West Regional Secretary for Unite, Becky Brookman from UNISON National Executive and Mark Chutter, President of Dorset District NEU drew more attention to the problems that have driven many workers to ballot for strike action. 

Grafton Straker from Stand Up To Racism Dorset and Giovanna Lewis of Dorset Climate Action addressed the need for unity to address wider campaigning issues. 

The event also featured information stalls from trades unions, environmental campaigners and Dorset Stand Up to Racism, plus activities for children. Food and drink were provided by Claire’s Country Kitchen and the Convivial Rabbit.

Jenny Lennon-Wood, Dorset TUC secretary, said: “We wanted to thank all the key workers, they suffered considerable hardship during the pandemic and were under extreme pressure and now they also have to battle for a pay rise.”

“It was very successful and everyone enjoyed themselves, we are hoping to run a similar event in the future.”

Dorset TUC provides a forum for all local trades unions to meet together, to share information, discuss local issues and support workers who are taking action to counter the cost of living crisis.

Find out more about Dorset TUC here  

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