The unemployed, students and the retired are among the groups that Unite, the largest union in the country, wishes to mobilise so that they can make improvements in their local community.
Unite has appointed 21-year-old Tyrone Fowles as community co-ordinator for the West Midlands to bring together groups not covered by traditional trade union membership, so that they can get involved in campaigns in their area, for example, to save their local library from closure.
Tyrone Fowles graduated in events management from the University of Birmingham. He has served as UK Youth parliament representative for Erdington, where he raised the sexual issues affecting Birmingham’s young people, given that the city had one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancies in Europe. He recently joined the Waterloo local housing board and has spent a year working in mental health support work.
Tyrone Fowles, who lives in Solihull, said: "Across the West Midlands, communities - from Birmingham to Worcester, from Coventry to Stoke - feel like they don't have a voice.
“Unite community membership is going to help change that. We think it's time that people who don’t have a job for whatever reason are now going to have access to the benefits of trade union membership.
"That means members will have access to all kinds of training and education in order to enhance their skills. But most importantly, it will allow communities to come together and get organised to create positive change. By becoming part of the UK and Ireland's largest trade union, you have 1.4 million allies in standing up for your rights.
"All across the West Midlands people have already been getting in touch to join. I'm really looking forward to working with communities throughout the region, helping them identify their own campaigning priorities and work to bring them about. Ordinary members will decide how community membership develops, and I'm really excited to see what good ideas people have.
Tyrone Fowles is one of 10 community co-ordinators appointed by Unite across the UK whose role is to engage with the community at the grassroots and offer new community members the benefits of a trade union for the cost of 50p a week.
Unite regional secretary for the West Midlands Gerard Coyne said: “The community membership scheme, launched by Unite, seeks to energetically engage with groups not covered by trade union membership.
“We need to mobilise right across communities in the West Midlands to improve lives and take a stand against the austerity policies of the coalition which have brought misery to tens of thousands of people across the West Midlands.”
For further information please contact: Tyrone Fowles on 07539 254230; and/or Unite campaigns officer, Liane Groves on 07793 661657 for interviews with the new community co-ordinators and/or Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940 to obtain a photograph of Tyrone Fowles.
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.