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Why do trades Unions still exist?

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R1Geezer | 10:48 Fri 09th Apr 2010 | News
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They serve no useful purpose, disrupt progress, most members tend to be work shy socialists who hate their employers and tend to think the world owes them a living. Thankfully they have only a little power these days but why haven't they been consigned to history? Ok they were necessary 100 years ago but now they are purely a negative force.


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I think that is a sweeping generalisation R1.

I work for a multi-national company who tries long and hard to be as efficient and cost-effective as possible - no problem, that's how businesses thrive.

The problem is, management culture regards employees as simply expendable and moveable units to be shifted around the business as and when it suits - with no regard for individual circumstances, skills, and so on.

Someone such as myself was advised that i would love into a job utterly unsuitable for me, which would have resulted in serious stress, and possible psychiatric hospitalisation.

As an individual, my concerns would have been ignored by the company.

As a Union Member, i had access to support, correct proceedures, and an appeals process which meant that this move was stopped, and i have been re-located to another job, which benefits not only myself, but the company, so everybody wins.

Without the Union, I would have been moved, and had to leave my job - a loss to both myself and the company.

Unions exist to protect the rights of employees - don't imagine that just because this is 2010 that all cliches apply.
I am in a trade union and they keep me informed on any changes to employment law (I should read their newletter more often!) and they offer free advise when needed, I wish i had been a member back last year when we were being made redundant! It's called the RBA by the way.
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"Unions exist to protect the rights of employees" yes Andy, that's the theory, in practice they abuse thier own membership to gratify the ego of the Leader. Look at those poor sods at BA, had an offer refused it, offer withdrawn, ok we'll take it, sod off no longer available. On strike, how much pay does the union leader lose? All you have to do is find a job you like and you are good at. Too much union activity is based around protecting those that are useless.
Companies often use unions to pay the lowest wages. How often do you hear they pay union rates which usually are just above the minimum wage. Because the company does not have to negotiate with everyone the rate is set near to the floor.
R1 Geezer I think your BA statement says far more about the management of BA than it does about the union.

People don't vote to go on strike (twice) unless they have a very good reason.

The reason that BA management didn't re-offer, or spend the three months after they got thier court victory in December seeking talks or seek arbitration, is they thought they had public sympathy, this was due to the press and now they have come unstuck.

Unions are a way for employees to have access to both the knowledge of thier righs and the law.

Belive it or not not every company has the best management.

I take it youd go back to the days of cap doffing and instant dismissal
They exist purely to annoy you, R1.

The TUC, the government, and the heads of the yoghurt-knitter conspiracy all met together in 1997 at a secret location and had a big long think about what the best way to make your life personally more annoying was, and the continuation of unions was deemed the best way.
"Unions exist to protect the rights of their employees." - that's not a theory R1, that is a fact, as my own experience outlines.

Twenty years ago, a Manager made a personal issue with me into a formal discipline case. She attempted to construct a set of circumstances which would have led to my dismissal - even though they were without foundation. Without Union support, I would have lost my job.

Not all Union members are work-shy scroungers, not all magament are hard-faced liars and crooks - but hey, the world is grey, not black and white, so for the benefit of those who have, and still do need them, Unions are a vital part of the working environment.
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So Andy why didn't you just tell them to shove it and find a job you like. I accept that often managers are morons who cannot do the job so they get promoted by ar5se licking or shagging etc etc.

Lucy I already said that unions once served a purpose but they have morphed out of all recognition. I only work for companies I like and have had to sack several of them in the past. I am very thorough though when I interview potential employers and I have in the past had to terminate interviews early when confronted by the company ar5seh0le, so I accept that these people exist, I guess I'm less tolerant of idiots but I;ve never needed a Union to help me.

In my first ever job I worked for a year in IT for Dorset county Council, where I was famously rollocked by the Nalgo rep for not having enough sick days, I kid yee not!
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I'm in Unison. They give us a lot of information, offer a lot off support, but when it came to our contracts being changed and losing money they were toothless.

I object to Unions getting involved in politics, telling us not vote for one party or another. The latest is not to buy Israeli goods or some such nonsense.
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Not pride lucy, I made sure I have a skill that's needed, no Union required, if my employer gets out of hand I politely ask for what I require and then start interviewing other companies, if necessary.
Someone on here a month or two back was asking about radiation risk.

He was in the middle east and got too close to an x-ray test on pipes.

There was no proper safety precautions on site - we have no idea what sort of exposure he recieved, we have no idea what risk he has.

Without Unions I have little doubt that we would be in that situation very quickly. health and safety (sorry 'elf and safety) cannot properly police everybody all the time.

You may work in an environment where your greatest risk is a paper cut but not everybody is like you
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they're the worst them paper cuts, much more painful than an Xray!
Jake, I think the best way to spell it is 'Elfin Safety'. After all, we've got to look out for the Little People, haven't we?
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"Tell them to shove it and find a job you like..." - do you live in this country R1? Have you tried to get a job at fifty-five which will pay a comparable salary with holiday entitlement where I live - Stoke, with one of the highest unemployent rates around?

I wish!

it appears you have the luxury of picking and choosing - and good luck to you, but spare a thought for the millions of workers who simply want to do their job and be paid for it - and do not have the inclnation or emotional strength to move about on a whim.

It is for these - the 99% - that Unions exist - and ever may they do so.
Workers don't need protection against those Nice bosses,just ask any Bangldeshi.
Unfortunately, in every part of society you can find unreasonable people, and that includes "the bosses" as well as "the workers". My impression is that much of industrial strife in Britain can in one way or another be traced to (yes, hideously outdated) class divisions that still exist in this country. Those divisions, in my opinion, are maintained as much from below as from above, one lot lording it because they crawled above where they might have been, the other boiling with resentment and envy - all of it modelled on "traditional" attitudes handed down through the last 3-4 generations. I have worked under conditions where union-type influence was more or less absent and found that it was a miserable atmosphere because heads near the top swelled with arrogance and, interestingly enough, contempt for the layer immediately below. I concluded this was where they saw the greatest threat (by replacement) to their position. Even these days you tend to find that British union bosses are still the foam-at-the-mouth preachers, out to ostentatiously show their followers that they deserve the job they fill. There is a place for opposition to company greed and exploitation because without opposition it would become too attractive, just like bankers get carried away when there is no regulation.
If you think its bad here, try dealing with the Unions in Bruxelles. It is restrictive and back to the 70's.

Some Unions do provide benfit. However in the likes of UNITE and RMT etc they aer simply power hungry people looking for a fight with whatever Government simplly to prove their power.

Unfortunatley Blair was right, many people are not able to make up their own minds and follow blindly

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