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  1. #1
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    Why aren't you a member of a trade union?

    I was always a trade union member and at one time I worked for one. I know that trade union members tend to get higher wages and better work conditions than non-union members. So find it difficult to understand why some are hostile or reluctant to join one. Not seeking convert people here but I am genuinely interested in why people don't join them.

  2. #2
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    I was a union member when I worked in the public sector many years ago, and that was largely because it was the 'done thing' - the vast majority of my colleagues were also in the same union, and one joined almost by default when taking up employment. The fact that practically everyone was a union member also meant that there was real power there because a strike could be called and my employer's business would effectively grind to a halt as a result.

    I suspect your assertion that union members get better pay and conditions is largely based on membership of large and powerful unions such as RMT, who can still use the threat of disruption of services as a bargaining tool. Obviously this isn't the only way that unions work, but it's certainly the most visible.

    Now I work in IT in the private sector, and in general my colleagues are not union members (or if they are, they don't talk about it) - so it simply doesn't form part of my work culture any more, even though I know there's nothing to stop me from joining a union. Also I work for a highly reputable and progressive employer, and personally speaking I think employment law is such that it provides me ample protection without my having to rely on a third party organisation to represent me.
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  3. #3
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    I have no trade union applicable to me certainly in the sense of collective bargaining etc.

  4. #4
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    I've always been a trade union member. They do great things in the workplace. The problems come when their leaders decide to have political ambitions.

  5. #5
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    I belong to two unions (UCU and NUJ). Both are more interested in pursuing a political agenda rather than looking after the interests of its members. Anyone who was an adult in the 1970s is unlikely to hold them in high regard.

  6. #6
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    In the 13 years I worked in the private sector I belonged to the TGWU. Certainly came in useful when new owners came in and tried to rip up contracts. I got moved off shiftwork and landed 8am-5pm hours. More than happy with that and then got told by the union as I would be losing shift allowance (up to 20% for nights) they would also get me compensation which I didnt even expect. And they did !!!!!!!!!!
    I guess a lot of opinions about unions comes down to how the shop stewards at local level look after their workers.
    So no complaints from me about unions.
    Now I'm self employed its almost like being cast adrift.
    Last edited by supersub; 31-07-2017 at 15:48.
    A long standing love affair with red and white stripes

  7. #7
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    I was a member of the NUS when I was a student because that gave me access to the facilities of the student union, and appealed to my Wolfie Smith outlook in those days. But I had to wonder at the mentality of the organisation - in the first week of my first term at university, the NUS called a strike in protest against the introduction of tuition fees (I think). This meant the closure of the student union building, which was where we students got our accommodation information, bought our rail cards, insurance and suchlike and for most of us it was where we went for lunch in the early days. So we the members of the union were denied access to the union's facilities when we needed them most, as a blow against the government. That showed 'em.

    -R
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  8. #8
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    That's good to hear, Supersub, exactly what they should be doing.

  9. #9
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    Interesting. What age range are you lot?

    i do remember the winter of discontent which I think is really why unions got shagged by Mrs Thatcher and have such a bad reputation amongst middle voters. Actually no reason why they should but when you look at them now do they really reflect the voting intentions of their members? Should they actually be political all? Why should Len Mucklusky or however you spell his name have anything to do with how the labour party is run?

  10. #10
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    I was - when union membership was a condition of your employment i.e. a closed shop.

    They were strike happy (especially in the summer)/work shy with a militant leadership putting political doctrine and the loonie left ideals before the actual benefit of their membership whose loyalty was expected and obedience demanded.

    I was delighted to leave the union the first day that the "close shop" nonesense was broken by primary employment legislation.

    Setting up and running my own businesses, freedom from the Orwellian oppression that union membership brought was a breath of fresh air.

    Europeans still refer to the work shy / poor productivity years of the UK in the 70's & 80's as the British Disease.

    Edit. Who remembers the concrete posts being thrown off the M1 motorway bridges by union organised industrial terrorists onto drivers working to feed and house their families and wanted to work.
    You are only as good as your first impression and last cane stroke, so make it a good one!

  11. #11
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    I think that is one reason why I slightly shrink from a JC leadership because that sort of thing will stuff our economy and oddly that in the end hurts poor people most. No matter what poor people always pay. By that I mean the really poor and under cared for.

  12. #12
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    I'm not a member of a union, the boss says no and I respect his decision.





    Clovis.
    Think how many blameless lives are brightened by the blazing indiscretions of other people. - H.H Munro.

  13. #13
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    Honestly Clovis you are so sharp.

    All about degree surely though.

    and it forgets to mention that for a huge number of the population we have no union and those people without one get stuffed by the one with one. It's not all equal unless we are all equal.

  14. #14
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    I'm not a member of a trad union because I am retired.

    Most of the companies I worked for over the years did not recognise unions, at least for "staff" jobs as against "works", it just wasn't an option for most IT jobs. As a rule if you wanted a pay rise you had to ask for it individually typically at annual appraisal time. If you didn't get what you thought was fair, you didn't go on strike - you just took your skills to another employer, and the bosses knew this.
    I did join Clive Jenkins' ASTMS while I was with one company though, the (very modest) union dues being collected via the payroll system. They did get us some collective pay rises, x% when another union representing the shop floor got y%.
    However the whole office still read the trade press every week, as these rises generally didn't match market rates.

    Nobody loves a smartarse

  15. #15
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    I've never not been in a union, and I never wouldn't be.

    Apart from the support available, I wouldn't feel ok about benefitting from decent conditions largely won by unions, and not paying my share of the costs.
    Currently being rather well looked after by that well-known Toppy-Monster-Around-Town, Clovis.

  16. #16
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    Smartarse. Same for me. If you don't get paid the rate you go down the road and get paid better. Collective bargaining means everyone gets paid the same for getting even more lazy surely? I don't know but I don't think it works across industries or worker groups.

  17. #17
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    Ur boss be mean. Fact.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clovis View Post
    I'm not a member of a union, the boss says no and I respect his decision.





    Clovis.
    Currently being rather well looked after by that well-known Toppy-Monster-Around-Town, Clovis.

  18. #18
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    It's about more than pay, though. I've pretty much always been in the public sector, where the pay is not great, but I've benefitted from decent hours, health and safety, acceptable working conditions . . .

    A few decades ago the option to just shift to another, better, job might have been more real than now, I grant you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Burgundy View Post
    Smartarse. Same for me. If you don't get paid the rate you go down the road and get paid better. Collective bargaining means everyone gets paid the same for getting even more lazy surely? I don't know but I don't think it works across industries or worker groups.
    Currently being rather well looked after by that well-known Toppy-Monster-Around-Town, Clovis.

  19. #19
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    True I suspect but the private sector isn't the same. I don't see how it would hugely help though.

    i work at a laptop on the office or in the pub. Often in the pub but don't tell anyone.

    Paid I'd by the hour. I do very well if I work. Nothing I don't.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burgundy View Post
    Smartarse. Same for me. If you don't get paid the rate you go down the road and get paid better. Collective bargaining means everyone gets paid the same for getting even more lazy surely? I don't know but I don't think it works across industries or worker groups.
    That's hardly fair. I worked in IT at a time when my skills were in great demand, so I could just up sticks and go - this was simple market forces in operation - supply and demand working in my favour. If my skills had been in a shrinking field - say shipbuilding, that option would not have been open to me. This is where the unions were so important. Withdrawing the availability of a workforce was one of the few weapons the working class could use to force avaricious proprietors to be less greedy and make reasonable concessions. Not all business owners were exploitative - some (especially the Quakers) held religious views which made them better employers. The employer/employee relationship was viewed as being much the same as the traditional master/servant relationship, under which the "Noblesse oblige" attitude meant that some saw it as their moral duty to provide decent housing and, relative to contemporary standards generally, a better working environment.

    As katiebug says, the unions were about far more than pay. Although her pay may not have been the highest going, as a public sector worker her conditions, notably job security and pensions, would have been far better than many in the private sector faced. My father was brought up during the Great Depression with the idea that a civil service job was ideal, as you wouldn't be fired short of something like being caught with your fingers in the till.
    The unions made an enormous contribution in fields such as safety - particularly in dangerous industries such as mining, machine shops, steelworks, cotton mills, construction or transport and getting decent working hours and holidays - particularly in the late 19th/early 20th centuries.

    Many of the causes first espoused by the unions were eventually accepted as a necessary basic minimum in a decent society and are now enshrined in law. It can be argued that unions have now served their purpose, and the masses now face very different problems. The labour movement now faces other issues - you can't go on strike if you can't find a job - so how do maintain decent living conditions for the population as a whole when so many jobs (especially for the unskilled) have been automated out of existence?

    Nobody loves a smartarse

  21. #21
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    I was conned into joining a union before I was accepted for the army. I knew I was not going to be staying in the job (Which I hated anyway), so when I realised I had been conned I had a big row with the shop steward and demanded my dues be returned. The steward was a real militant idiot and refused to accept the idea that anyone would not actually want to be a union member. Almost every week this guy was threatening the company with walk outs. Several of the excuses he used for calling for strikes were completely farcical. In one week a couple were caught having sex in an office during work time. They were both married to different people, they were sacked on the spot, Gross Misconduct. I thought that was a fair cop. The union bloke claimed the company were being unreasonable! The same day, 2 guys sacked for theft. They were caught bang to rights by the security guards, removing goods from the premises that they had no right to be holding. They had no paperwork to justify why they were removing stock and taking it off the premises. Union bloke wanted everybody out on strike because "The company had not made any investigations into the matter". Utter bollocks, they were thieves and they got caught simple as that. I lost pay while that nonsense was carrying on, so did a lot of other people.

    All the politics involving the unions is completely out of place. The likes of Scargill (Odious little wanker) and Mckluskey cause nothing but trouble and are involved in stuff that the unions were not set up to do. I got paid a hell of a lot of money to drive a lorry during the Wapping dispute. They needed guys like me because the regular drivers were terrified of being recognised. Most days I had to run a gauntlet of lunatics throwing bricks, bottles, etc at my cab. I had numerous run in's with union heavies at several delivery points. Those guys were not interested in getting better pay or conditions, they just wanted to destroy anything that belonged to the company and assault anyone that did not agree with them. I had a lot of fun during that episode and laughed at the idiots, (That probably didn't help).

    I have always fought my own battles. If I didn't like the way I was being treated at work, I walked and found something else. Not worked for anyone except myself for more than 20 years. I work, how, when and where I want to, usually in my own workshop. I don't need or want anyone or any organisation to tell me what I have to do, or how to do it.

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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burgundy View Post
    True I suspect but the private sector isn't the same. I don't see how it would hugely help though.

    i work at a laptop on the office or in the pub. Often in the pub but don't tell anyone.

    Paid I'd by the hour. I do very well if I work. Nothing I don't.
    Reading your posts here no one would ever guess you'd been drinking.

  23. #23
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    Come back Jimmy Hoffa, all is forgiven.
    You can't keep a good N.O.B down

  24. #24
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    People often allege that the Law Society is a Trade Union. Does that count? I've got to say, it's done sod all for me in the past 47 years.
    Democracy is for life; not just for a single referendum!

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    Well likewise. It would be an odd trade union that looks after both the employers and the employees but I follow what you mean.

  26. #26
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    I've been a member of Unite (TGWU) for many years. Their help in the workplace was minimal, but the power of a inion in any given workplace is governed by the commitment of the members in that workplace. Unite is a good union, though; there are many other benefits from being a a member - health, welfare, holidays, legal assistance, insurance (the insurance for my car was far and away cheaper through the union than any other insurance provider).
    It was a condition of employment that I had to join the TGWU and though I resented it at the time, I've many reasons to be grateful.
    Join a union, exercise your rights, always vote and strive for real representation.

  27. #27
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    What have the unions done for you?

    Well, among other things a five day working week; weekend off, shorter working day, workplace pensions, paid holidays, a retirement age, sickness pay, paid holidays, maternity leave, regular pay increases in line with or better than inflation, the minimum wage, collective bargaining, the right not to be sacked at employers’ whim or because you got married or had a baby.

    You want more? Join a union!

  28. #28
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    What it there isn't one though that you can join? If you are self employed etc?

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burgundy View Post
    What it there isn't one though that you can join? If you are self employed etc?
    If you're self employed, you don't need to belong to a union if you want to go on strike for higher pay.
    Or if you want, you could form a one-man closed shop and grant yourself negotiating rights.

    Nobody loves a smartarse

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by smartarse View Post
    If you're self employed, you don't need to belong to a union if you want to go on strike for higher pay.
    Or if you want, you could form a one-man closed shop and grant yourself negotiating rights.
    Its not all about pay Smarty, its about having the backing and knowledge of a lot of brains behind you if you have any problems which even us self employed encounter. As I said earlier, it can be a bit like being cast adrift when youre self employed. Its not all about striking for more money.
    Theres many advantages to being self employed and having worked in the public sector , the private sector and now self employed I wouldnt go back on the books, but Yes !! sometimes I would like to have legal and financial advice on some matters that previously I took for granted that I could get from the union but now it would cost me an arm and a leg once I have sought out a legal expert.
    Last edited by supersub; 04-08-2017 at 21:19.
    A long standing love affair with red and white stripes

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    I am at a stage in life when being self employed is fine. It suits me. I take the projects when I want. One day they will dry up and I will have to retire. I am getting on so great in a way.

    Its not great though I suspect for a lot of younger people who are self employed because they got made redundant in the recession etc. Not all self employed people are rolling round in cash. I am not by any means but I have choice at my age. I suepect it's very hard for younger people. And I in a way regard zero hours people as in effect being self employed.
    Last edited by Burgundy; 05-08-2017 at 15:54.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magnum View Post
    People often allege that the Law Society is a Trade Union. Does that count? I've got to say, it's done sod all for me in the past 47 years.
    Truly shocking mate but try suggesting your own disbarment and good things may yet happen.
    You can't keep a good N.O.B down

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by mortinuk View Post
    What have the unions done for you?

    Well, among other things a five day working week; weekend off, shorter working day, workplace pensions, paid holidays, a retirement age, sickness pay, paid holidays, maternity leave, regular pay increases in line with or better than inflation, the minimum wage, collective bargaining, the right not to be sacked at employers’ whim or because you got married or had a baby.

    You want more? Join a union!
    All true but it goes even deeper than that.Spend your tokens in the company shop,work in lethal conditions and if you don't like it get beaten up by the company thugs.These conditions motivated the powerless to empower themselves by collective action and as exploitation returns for the many, may do so again.
    You can't keep a good N.O.B down

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    Quote Originally Posted by mortinuk View Post
    You want more? Join a union!
    And face intimidation from the company you work for ..... or bankrupt them ....... unless you work in the public sector
    Some don't seem to realise the difference between working for a grotesque Victorian Capitalist, and working for us - the public.
    I've been in Government Offices and was shocked to see union publicity posters trying to associate themselves with the Tolpuddle Martyrs
    At my fingertips I have a device that can access all the knowledge that mankind has amassed over the millennia.
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    I've seen excesses on both sides - Thatcher & Scargill, Murdoch and the Print Unions etc
    But only the excesses of one side has been curbed.
    Boardrooom excesses, executive pay etc, has been left to run amok.
    At my fingertips I have a device that can access all the knowledge that mankind has amassed over the millennia.
    I use it to look at pictures of bottoms and have pointless arguments with complete strangers

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by katiebug View Post
    I've never not been in a union, and I never wouldn't be.

    Apart from the support available, I wouldn't feel ok about benefitting from decent conditions largely won by unions, and not paying my share of the costs.
    Couldn't agree more.

    I've lost count of the number of guys who I've worked with who constantly derided and/or put down the union, only to rub their hands with glee when the conditions improved or the pay got better.

    Not to mention those that refused to join the union until they effed up and were threatened with the sack. It wasn't long 'til they were calling you 'brother'.

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    I've been in the PCS for nearly 20 years. Early on in the last decade, they achieved some really good things, such as shortening pay scales which saw wages for newer entrants to the civil service like me see a 10 per cent pay rise, abolishing the AA grade as most AAs were doing the same work as AOs, and bringing in flexi time and an end to compulsory weekend working in DEFRA. Yet in the last ten years or so, the union has become far more political, its magazine is like a Jeremy Corbyn fanzine, we were dragged out several times as a protest against austerity, and the PCS seems obsessed with diversity and multiculturalism in recent years. Many people now consider the union to be a joke, even though some individual reps continue to do a very good job.

  38. #38
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    I've always been a union member. Can't imagine not being.

    colsie's special lady

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    The PCS has become a joke. I think if they spent less time worrying about issues like gender neutral language, that hardly anyone cares about, and did something constructive, they'd be more worthwhile. Also the drift to the far Left has annoyed many more moderate members like me. I voted Labour last time, but since have realised they're a total joke.

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    Quote Originally Posted by A Cumbrian View Post
    The PCS has become a joke. I think if they spent less time worrying about issues like gender neutral language, that hardly anyone cares about, and did something constructive, they'd be more worthwhile.
    Just because you don't, doesn't mean "hardly anyone" does.
    Currently being rather well looked after by that well-known Toppy-Monster-Around-Town, Clovis.

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