Prospect, a trade union that represents over 116,000 professionals in areas as diverse as agriculture and telecoms, is calling on its members to send ‘pledge’ cards to their elected representatives.
The cards outline four policy ideas, as well as asking politicians to meet with members and work with Prospect to learn more about the campaign.
The Stormont event was hosted by Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) Anna Lo and attended by up to a dozen other MLAs, as well as Prospect members and officials from other trade unions, including Brian Campfield, general secretary of NIPSA, the largest public service union in Northern Ireland.
In total, nine members of the Assembly, representing six different parties, signed up to the Prospect Pledge.
Anna Lo MLA, said, ”We need to listen to our constituents when they are telling us what they believe in. It’s important that they participate and the more pledges they sign, the more politicians will be convinced by the important issues put forward by this campaign.”
Paul Stewart, president of Prospect’s National Trust branch, gave the opening speech at the event.
“It is good to see so many MLAs have taken an interest in the issues facing working people in this country, by engaging with trade union representatives,” said Paul.
He added that while 40 per cent of Northern Ireland’s population belonged to a trade union, this did not prevent a low turnout at the last election.
MLAs engaging with trade unions, through initiatives such as the Prospect Pledge campaign, could help to combat voter apathy, he said.
Other speakers included Anna Lo MLA, Mike Nesbitt MLA, Steven Agnew MLA, Daithí McKay MLA and Leslie Manasseh, Prospect’s deputy general secretary.
Previous Prospect Pledge events were held at the House of Commons in London, the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh and the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff.
Reflecting on the Stormont launch, Prospect’s parliamentary and campaigns officer, Parmjit Dhanda, said: “We had a good cross-section of speakers and they all spoke in some depth about our campaign pledges going into the 2015 general election.
“It’s good for us to be able to get out of London and meet a cross-section of politicians who we wouldn’t normally get to see, and get our message across. The engagement has been really positive.”
The Prospect Pledge policies are:
- Increasing the number of women in STEM careers
- Responsible procurement
- Stopping the brain drain of skilled civil servants
- Cutting CO2 emissions and investing in renewable and low-carbon energy, including nuclear
For more information: www.prospect.org.uk/prospectpledge
The MLA signatories were:
Anna Lo MBE, Alliance Party
Daithí McKay, Sinn Fein
Dominic Bradley, SDLP
Jennifer McCann, Sinn Fein
Mike Nesbitt, UUP (Leader)
Phil Flanagan, Sinn Fein
Sammy Douglas MBE, Democratic Unionist Party
Sandra Overend, UUP
Steven Agnew, Green Party