UNISON Skills for Strength 2019

Speakers announced for UNISON Skills for Strength 2019 – Don’t miss your chance to register

Dear Colleague,

Skills for Strength is UNISON North West’s annual organising convention, where activists gather to share ideas with each other and learn from a plethora of speakers from across the breadth of our movement, and from across the globe, in a series of practical workshops on how to effectively build union power and improve workers’ lives in challenging times. This year’s event is being held on Saturday 16th March at the Mechanics Centre in central Manchester.

We can now announce our first confirmed speakers for Skills for Strength 2019, who are bringing their experience from across our region around the world to this event:

Michael Crosby – Michael is former director of the Australian Confederation of Trades Unions’ Organising Centre. He is the author of the influential 2005 book ‘Power at Work’, which documented the crisis facing the union movement and focussed on the central role of organising workplaces and industries in an evidence-based plan for renewal. It led to the building of a new organising agenda which is hardheaded, practical and achievable. Greg Combet, Secretary, Australian Council of Trade Unions, said of Crosby: ¿Over the last ten years Michael Crosby has gained a unique insight into Australian unions as a result of his reforming work with the ACTU’s Organising Centre. ¿ His account of the strategic imperatives confronting Australian unions in the 21st century is the most comprehensive statement of the issues yet written.¿

Rebecca Long-Bailey MP – Rebecca is the Labour MP for Salford and Eccles and the Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, a key member of the Labour front bench team. 

Dr. Anitha Sundari & Dr. Ruth Pearson – Dr. Sundari and Dr. Pearson are the authors of ¿Striking Women, Struggles and strategies of South Asian women workers from Grunwick to Gate Gourmet’. The book centred on two industrial disputes, the famous Grunwick strike (1976-78) and the Gate Gourmet dispute that erupted in 2005. Focusing on these two events, their book explores the nature of South Asian women’s contribution to the struggles for workers’ rights in the UK labour market. The authors examine histories of migration and settlement of two different groups of women of South Asian origin, and how this history, their gendered, classed and racialised inclusion in the labour market, the context of industrial relations in the UK in the two periods and the nature of the trade union movement shaped the trajectories and the outcomes of the two disputes.

Pascal Robinson, We Own It – ‘We Own it’ campaign for increased public ownership and accountability of services and industries in the UK. Pascal will be outlining their ambitious campaign to bring a fair, publicly-run franchise system for Manchester’s buses, improving services and ensuring public money for buses our region is spent on transport, not simply sidelined into profits for shareholders. He will be exploring how unions and campaign groups can work together to win for workers and the wider public. 

Anthony Hays (TUC Digital) –  Anthony Hays is an expert in digital organising and will be sharing his wealth of experience from the TUC’s Digital Organising team, working on scores of UK union campaigns, to give you some ideas on how you can harness the power of digital in your own branches and workplaces. 

This is an event not to be missed. Last year, over 200 activists attended Skills for Strength, making it our largest yet. We’ve now opened registration, and definitely encourage you to register soon in order to avoid disappointment – we do often become oversubscribed.


It’s absolutely free to attend if you’re a UNISON activist in the North West, and you can register online today atwww.unisonnw.org/skillsforstrength, or by completing the attached application form. Registration closes on 15th February, but it’s worth registering now if you can, to be sure to reserve your place.

Skills-for-Strength-2019-Registration-Form 2019

Hope to see you there on March 16th. 

Best wishes,

James Bull
Regional Organiser