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Myth: Unions mean more conflict in the workplace.

Fact: Unions can make the workplace a more harmonious place to work. A union contract allows the company and workers to sit down as equals and discuss problems as they come up.


Without a union, workers’ lives are often in more turmoil because they have to deal with more favoritism and less economic security. 



Myth: Unions used to be effective, but they’re not anymore.

Fact: Unions are still by far the best way for working people to win economic security and have a voice on the job. Union members have higher wages than workers who don’t have a union.


Union members are much more likely to have a better pension plan and health care than workers without unions.


Unions also curb discrimination on the job, keep the workplace safe and give workers a much-needed voice.


“Why should I pay to belong to a union?” 

Paying into a union will put money back into your pocket by giving you bargaining power. The power to gain better pay rise, better quality jobs and better conditions at work. 


Belonging to a union is an investment in your future and ultimately, being in a union rewards you more than it costs you. 


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

Around half of young workers work to pay for their education. 


Research shows that between 1996 and 2006 the number of full-time students with a part-time job grew by more than 50 percent, with this figure set to only increase alongside the cost of higher education.

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


"The unions do nothing for ordinary people"

Actually this one's true. Except for paid holidays, the eight-hour day, paid sick leave, bringing an end to child labour, fighting for equal pay, better health and safety regulation, fighting workplace discrimination, the unions have done absolutely nothing.


See the video below for more on what unions have done for us over the past century. 




Myth: Unions are quickly shrinking.

Fact: Whilst the trade union movement has seen a general decline, for the past 3 years union membership has actually been increasing.


People are seeing the real value unions have in the workplace, especially since the coronavirus pandemic led to a lot of uncertainty. 


"Unions prop up losers, and you’re not a loser, right?” 

The myth that unions shield “lazy” workers at the expense of a workplace’s highest achievers is a common one. If this were true, look at the Professional Footballers' Association. They don't shield 'bad' footballers they protect everyone. 

Some union members will be bad workers, but the majority of people we help are coming in every day trying to do their best. 



"Trade Unions aren’t for people like me"

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. 


"Trade Union membership wouldn’t have any benefits for me"

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. As a member of a union you are entitled to free representation and legal advice should you ever need it. 

This applies to both within and outside the workplace and can include help with employment matters, personal injury, wills, conveyancing and more. 

  • Why has Unite remained neutral on the pay award / not recommend reject?
    Although the bank has not met our demands of a pay offer that is two percent above inflation based on the RPI we recognized they have moved quite considerably from their initial offer due to union pressure in the give and take process of negotiations. As there are both positives and negatives to the final offer Unite feels it is unable to recommend a position and as part of the democratic process believes rightly the final decision should be left up to the membership to vote as they see fit.
  • Why is Unite waiting until February to ballot members?
    When Lloyds announced there would be no bonus, and upon seeing all other UK banks deciding to pay one, we received a lot of feedback to say that people would have voted differently on that year's pay ballot because of it. This year we felt members would appreciate the complete picture on what their reward package for the year will look like before using their vote.
  • If I vote No, does that mean I won’t get a pay rise?"
    If the result of the whole ballot is to reject, then the pay rise will be put on hold. Unite will tell the bank the members reject the offer, and we will look to see what further negotiations can achieve. Any further discussions would be on the basis that whatever the outcome is, any pay rise would be backdated.
  • What does the market movement mean?
    It means the pay range will be increased by the relevant percentage before the pay rise is applied. Some people will move to a lower pay range because of it and get a higher pay rise as a result.
  • What was the bank’s original offer?
    The bank has subjected both unions to an embargo preventing disclosure of any of the specifics as to how negotiations have progressed. All we can say is that the first offer was a LOT lower than what we ended up with but that shouldn’t matter. What matters is whether you think the current offer is good enough.
  • Will a reject outcome really make a difference?
    It will show the bank a real signal that their workers aren’t as happy as they would maybe think and would be encouragement for them to negotiate further with the unions.
  • What if the bank doesn’t want to negotiate further?
    Unite will look to see what action members would be willing to take
  • What would further action look like?
    It could be a range of things. Negative publicity, demonstrations and even strike action. That said I think all parties would rather a mutual and respectful agreement to be struck.
  • What is the difference between CPI and RPI?
    They are just different ways of measuring inflation. The major difference is RPI includes housing costs such as council tax and mortgage interest payments etc. However, CPI does not include such housing costs. Unite base their pay claim on RPI because it believes when looking at the rise in the cost-of-living housing costs are an important factor to consider in living standards.
  • What is inflation?
    Inflation is the rate at which prices are rising - if the cost of a £1 jar of jam rises by 5p, then jam inflation is 5%. Hundreds of goods and services (known as a basket of goods) are compared each month. Some goods and services may go up in price while others go down and this is averaged out to give the inflation figure for a particular month. So for example the current inflation figure of 5.1% for December 2021 means that overall prices have risen by 5.1% compared to December 2020.
  • How does inflation affect me?
    If your pay is rising by less than inflation, you will see a fall in the "real" value of your wages, because what you're earning will buy less. We're all affected by rising prices, but if you're on a low income or don't have savings to fall back on, you're likely to feel the impact more keenly.
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What have unions ever done for us?

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