They include boat builders, care staff, plastic workers and even a cow inseminator.
“I believe that the name change was essential if we are to make the union more attractive to potential members outside of the traditional ceramics industry.”
He stressed that the union will not be turning its back on its thousands of members in the pottery industry.
“This union will never forget its roots and its long and proud history. It was founded by pottery workers, many of whom paid a terrible price for their union membership, and has been built up by generations of pottery workers over the years.
However, if we are to rebuild the union following the devastating mass redundancies of recent years, we must look at industries outside of ceramics to recruit new members and become a true community union.
Now that the change has been made, we can go forward and continue to fight for the rights of workers in the pottery industry and in other occupations.”
The history of Unity (formerly known as CATU) can be traced back to the early 19th century.
The early days of the union were ones of immense suffering and struggle for the pottery workers. The industry was one of the unhealthiest in the country. Workers were exploited by the “good from oven” deductions and the union was at the forefront of the Chartist movement of the 19th century.
The ceramic industry has had many ups and downs – and the union has had many successes in maintaining its membership at high levels within the industry. The employees have always regarded the union as its main help in the struggle to maintain working peoples pay and conditions.
From those beginnings our union has always been one of the most progressive unions in the country, fighting for improvements in the working conditions of its members.
From it’s early days it has been involved on the national stage with members all over the country – representing members from Scotland to Northern Ireland, down to Worcester and the South of England.