Season’s greetings from UNISON South East!

The festive season can be a difficult time for many, not least public service workers. It’s often one of the busiest periods of the year, particularly in the health sector. But the core values of trade unionism – solidarity, fairness, equality – always resonate at Christmas. Wherever you are – and however you celebrate, if at all – we hope you find some time to rest with loved ones.

This year it would be difficult not to mention the situation in the Middle East. In the season of peace and goodwill, we again echo the message of our general secretary. We encourage branches and individual members to give generously to Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) and the Red Cross, condemn all violence, and call for a ceasefire as the starting point for the hard work of building a real and lasting peace.

Of course, Christmas means that the New Year is around the corner, and with 2024 almost upon us a serious political battle lies ahead. Last week’s bout of Tory infighting over their cruel plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda saw the country yet again held ransom by the far-right. The best Christmas gift would be a new government, but we might have to wait a few more months for that.