Delegate Profile – Darren Cunningham

31 August 2023

After starting my career in sports development, I joined Melton Council in 2005. I’m now Council’s Positive Ageing Officer. It’s a rewarding job that challenges me every day, I love it.

My parents were active in the Tramways Union. I’ve always believed in the capacity of unions to stand up for the rights and dignity of workers. It just felt right to join my union, especially as I saw how successive Governments undermined our rights as workers.

In my 18 years at Melton Council, I’d always felt appreciated and valued. But as EBA negotiations started in 2022, something had changed. Staff were exhausted; they’d given so much of themselves during COVID lockdowns. When the first EBA offer was made, there was overwhelming disappointment and hurt among my workmates. Lots of people spoke to me about their feelings. I felt like I had a responsibility to help them be heard.

As a disabled man, I also wanted to show the contribution I could make to the cause of improving conditions for my workmates. Disabled people are all too often seen as the recipients of other people’s work and efforts. As a disabled Delegate, I get to show the unique perspectives and contributions that I can make when given the chance.

I love that my union gives voice to people who can often feel voiceless. I love that my union values rights and equality for women, the LGBTQIA+ community, and voting YES to the Voice to Parliament.

My union makes me feel more connected to and responsible for my work community. Over the last year, we’ve had massive growth, and it’s because staff have seen the value of our union community. Together, each of us can improve things for all of us. Why wouldn’t you want to be a part of that?!