5 Big Questions: KATE BELL


How can workers shape the future of work?

What role do trade unions play in the 21st century?

And why is simply talking usually the answer?


In this week’s 5 Big Questions interview we talk to trade unionist, policy expert and employment rights advocate KATE BELL



  • Twitter: @kategobell | @The_TUC

Known for:

  • Head of Rights, International, Social & Economics – Trade Union Congress
  • Member – Low Pay Commission
  • Former Policy Advisor, Work & Pensions – The Labour Party
  • Former Director of Policy Advice & Communications – Gingerbread

The 5 Big Questions:

    1. How do you measure the impact of what you do?
    2. How should people/businesses be preparing for the future?
    3. How do we build the workforce we need for that future?
    4. How do you use creativity to solve problems?
    5. How do you collaborate?

Key quotes:

“Trade Union membership has been growing for the last four years. I think in the pandemic many people have thought, actually I need someone to stick up for me in the workplace, I’m genuinely worried not just about whether I’m being paid fairly but is it actually going to be safe for me to go to my place of work.”

“We are a democratic organisation. One of the reasons I really enjoy working for the trade union movement is you have got that very direct feedback. That’s not always comfortable, it can be difficult and people can have very different views. But it’s a very good feedback mechanism. It’s a real advantage of working in a democratic movement.”

“We’ve also been calling for better sick pay. Have we got the change we wanted? Absolutely we have not. The government has not budged. The level of sick pay has not gone up beyond the rate of inflation and there’s still two million people who are excluded. So when I try to assess: my team have been absolutely amazing in the work they’ve done. Have we made a difference? No we haven’t.”

“We share history and values with the Labour Party but we’re not affiliated to anybody.”

“We can shape the future of work.” 

“The first thing I would advise any business to do is talk to your workers about the future of work they want. Where they see the possibilities for innovation and what that means for their working lives. There’s loads of evidence that talking to your employees not only makes them happier but also makes your business more productive.”

Useful links

This episode was recorded in January 2022

Interviewer: Richard Freeman for always possible

Editor: CJ Thorpe-Tracey for Lo Fi Arts


Never miss another Possibility Club podcast

Access 150+ podcasts featuring a diverse range of innovators, change-makers, leaders and disruptors from across the worlds of business, culture and education.

Norman Cook | Andy Burnham | Lemn Sissay | Charlotte Church | Michael Rosen | Jimi Famurewa | Matthew Taylor | Stella Creasy | Tim Harford

Latest posts
NEWS: Modern Slavery in Sussex – new webinar series
NEWS: Modern Slavery in Sussex – new webinar series

NEWS: Modern Slavery in Sussex webinar series Changing the Conversation around anti-modern slavery  In a continuation of our stakeholder communities work with The University of Sussex we bring you a new series of 5 Changing the Conversation webinars on Modern...

read more
NEWS: We’re hiring – Project Officer 2x job vacancies
NEWS: We’re hiring – Project Officer 2x job vacancies

NEWS: We're hiring! Project Officer (x2) Come and join an award-winning teamProject Officer Contract details: 2x positions - one full time, one part time 30 hours per weekLocation: Home based, with some meetings in Sussex.Salary: £25,000 - £27,540 pa, pro rata +...

read more
CASE STUDY: Recover & Rise Digital Accelerator
CASE STUDY: Recover & Rise Digital Accelerator

Case Study: Events, Engagement & FacilitationWSCC Recover & Rise Digital Accelerator  ContextAs part of West Sussex County Council’s (WSCC) Economy Reset Plan 2020-2024. The Recover and Rise programme was introduced to find an engaging approach to...

read more
NEWS: UKRIO has launched 4 year strategy
NEWS: UKRIO has launched 4 year strategy

NEWS: UKRIO launches 4-year strategyFollowing a 6-month project with always possible, the UK Research Integrity Office (UKRIO) have launched their new 4-year strategy. UKRIO is an impressive and well-respected national charity. Their work underpins high quality...

read more

5 Big Questions: CAROLYNN BAIN  Why will intentionality change the world? How do we challenge word of mouth book recommendations?  And what is the difference between not-racism and anti-racism? In this week’s 5 Big Questions interview we talk to book shop owner,...

read more