Trade Unions: for people like you

fact and fictionFiction: Trade Unions aren’t for people like me 

FACT: Unless you win the lottery or have millions in the bank, the chances are you’ll spend roughly a quarter of your life at work because that is the only – legal – way to earn money.

Anyone that goes to work and who cares about their pay and conditions – holiday entitlement, pension and so  on – equal rights, safety and training needs a trade union.

Young workers are most likely to be vulnerable to exploitation as some unscrupulous employers will assume  that they are less likely to know their rights.

Fiction: Trade unions are only for people in particular types of work, working full time all year round 

FACT: Union membership is more diverse than perhaps you would imagine and includes full time, part time, agency and seasonal workers.

Fiction: Trade Union membership wouldn’t have any benefits for me 

FACT: Time and time again it has been proven that workers in unionised workplaces get far better pay and terms and conditions than those that aren’t in a union.

Fiction: Trade Unions are just about workplace disputes and strikes 

FACT: Despite what the right wing media and politicians will have you believe, going on strike is very difficult and is always the last resort for workers and trade unions. But the right to withdraw labour is and should stay a human right. Going on strike remains rare and is a tough call for those taking strike action, not least because you don’t get paid when you’re on strike.

Whilst a trade union’s primary role is to represent their members on employment issues, trade unions have a much bigger part to play in civil society. Trade unions offer educational, lifelong learning and training opportunities to their members, many of whom would have not had this chance had it not been for their union.

Historically, trade unions have not only negotiated for and championed better workplace rights with employers but for a better deal for working people in the wider world.

Fiction: Unions aren’t formally recognised in my workplace so I can’t join 

FACT: Anybody has the right to join a union regardless of whether their employer formally recognises trade unions or a union organises within their workplace.

You can also get more active in your union by getting involved with campaigns and other activity/events.

Being part of a trade union is not simply about ensuring you have representation in the workplace but also about being part of a wider movement to create a better society.

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