Former TUC tutor Alison Foster is a regular visitor to Glastonbury Festival, and spent many happy summers in a caravan in a friend’s field in Somerset.
Now she’s back in the West and already making waves as the new course co-ordinator for trade union studies at City of Bristol College.
The opportunity to re-establish a centre here was a challenge I couldn’t resist. I’d been doing a similar job in London for eleven years and before that a TUC tutor for nine years and wanted to bring those skills and knowledge to Bristol.
I know how to recruit, I’m a people person, I know how to engage people and, importantly, I know how colleges work, with all their paperwork and procedures.”
Alison has already started running courses in Bristol, with the aim of spreading them across the region throughout 2019.
I’m going to slowly try and make sure there’s TUC provision in every single area in the South West, so people don’t have to travel to Bristol.
I want to build confidence in City of Bristol College, that courses will be delivered and delivered well. I want to build relationships with local trade unions and, of course, with the TUC.”
The college offers a range of courses, including health and safety, communication skills and how to recruit – and represent – members at work.
Alison added that:
These courses are really important because if people don’t have trade union representation at work, where there are areas that aren’t unionised, you find weak points where employers can attack you and your rights.
If there’s no-one to speak up, and the employer wants to change you terms and conditions, or dismiss someone, then even though the law might say someone can’t be unlawfully dismissed, who do you get the support from?
Even though the law says you shouldn’t be unfairly dismissed, every day people are because they don’t have trade union representation.”
This story was written by Tim Lezard for West Country Workers