I've been a fully paid up member of Unison for 19 years. And until we took action for eight weeks against the single status process at the end of last year, I had never even been on strike.
Initially I became a steward because no one else would do it. In the process of the strike I have really become a steward because I want to be one and I believe in the power of unions to protect workers.
Because Christmas was approaching and the workforce in day services is predominately women, it was assumed that we would cave in and go back to work after a week or two. But, as one of the male strikers said, "they didn't reckon on the strength of a group of women together". It was that strength that sustained us through the strike.