People Like You
- Thursday 7 January 2021
The Labour party was founded over 100 years ago by the trade unions to give working people a voice in parliament and on local councils.
These were the workers doing the jobs that have come to be known as key workers today – NHS workers, teachers, cleaners, refuse workers, care workers, transport workers, emergency services workers. In fact, all those jobs that keep our communities working and safe.
Covid-19 has, perhaps like never before, demonstrated how these frontline jobs are the backbone of our society. And when those workers are also trade unionists, they are the voice of the workforce and the community, negotiating pay rises, fighting for safer workplaces, resisting job losses, opposing service cuts and privatisation.
This is why Unite has launched our People Like You campaign, to encourage key workers to become the voice of their communities on their local councils, to help us build our society back out of the pandemic, better, fairer, more equal.
Unite wants members who are Labour party members to consider standing to be Labour councillors. Follow the links below to find out more ⬇️
Find out more about the role of a councillor
Councillors are elected to the local council to represent their local community, known as a ward. They must either live or work in the area.
Councillors can make a real difference to the quality of local people’s lives.
Most councillors represent a political party.
Councillors are responsible for developing and reviewing council policy, scrutinising decisions taken by the council and representing the interests of people who live in their ward.
Most councillors hold regular drop-in surgeries for residents to talk to them about problems or concerns. They also deal with letters, emails and phone calls from their constituents – what is known as ‘casework’, and may have to meet with council staff during the working day to try to resolve problems.
Employees who are councillors can get ‘reasonable’ time off for council duties, though there is no obligation on the employer to pay them.
Councillors sit on committees, which often meet in the evenings.
There’s no need to be an expert in any area of local government, such as housing, education and finance. New councillors are given induction and on-going support.
Being a councillor is a commitment that can take up spare time, so it’s good to have support from family, friends and your union to help you carry out the role.
There is no salary for being a councillor, but the council will pay you an allowance to reimburse you for time and expenses incurred whilst on council business.
Unite runs a future candidates programme designed to provide members with the knowledge and skills necessary to take up the challenge to run for public office, including to become a local councillor.
The programme is designed to provide members with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in this challenging environment, whilst adding to their own industrial and political experience.
We will be running one training session a week for six weeks, starting the week of 15 February. Sessions will run between 6pm and 9pm.
Interested? Complete the form at the bottom of this webpage and we'll be in touch.
Watch the testimonies of Unite members who have become councillors ⬇️