Mythbusters

 

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. 

 

"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 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.  

 

 

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. 

 

“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 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. 

 

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.

 

"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. 

 

"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. 

What have unions ever done for us?

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