I’m Gary Smith. Scottish Secretary of GMB Scotland.
On behalf of everyone at your union I’d like to wish you, your family, and your loved ones a Happy New Year.
I’m sure that you, like me, couldn’t wait to say goodbye to 2020. It’s been an incredibly difficult time and our hearts have been broken by the pain Covid-19 has caused to families and communities everywhere. Yet even amidst the suffering, we’ve seen the very best of people and this is especially true of GMB members across Scotland. Your everyday heroism has protected the sick, elderly, and vulnerable; kept the shops open and full; ensured the lights stayed on and homes were heated; and so much more besides. I’ll never forget what you’ve done and never stop thanking you.
But now in 2021, it’s clear that you will be asked to do even more. And, as you continue to work tirelessly to keep our loved ones safe and our country going, I want you to know that GMB Scotland is with you all the way. From the start of this pandemic I said your union will do everything it can for you and your family with the resources we have. I meant that then and I mean it now. We are here to make work better - for greater safety, proper value and the defence of jobs.
That’s why our members are organising to ‘Fight for 15’, for the delivery of a £15 an hour minimum wage across Scotland’s social care sector. That’s why we’ve called on the Scottish Government to ensure all key workers, like home carers, refuse and cleansing, retail and logistics, and schools staff, can access a COVID-19 test at work to better protect themselves while the vaccination programme is rolled-out. That’s why our members are taking strike action against the shameless ‘fire and rehire’ agenda of British Gas, and that’s why we are fighting for the UK Government to end to the unfair US tariffs on single malts that are hammering whisky and spirits jobs in rural communities.
The last year has pulled back the curtain and revealed so much about our world that needs to change. Instead of long hours for low pay, we need a new settlement where working people are finally rewarded for the true value of their work. We need to end the scandalous mismanagement that is crippling many of our once-proud key industries. And we need our politicians to focus on the real needs of working people and their families by delivering an economy that works for all.
In 2021, GMB Scotland will continue to fight every inch of the way for a better future for you and your family. It’s what we do because it’s what you deserve. Keep safe and well and, once again, please accept my best wishes for a Happy New Year.
GMB Scotland Secretary