Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@. Skimlinks & other affiliated links are turned on

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • kmb500
    • By kmb500 10th Aug 17, 12:17 PM
    • 390Posts
    • 106Thanks
    kmb500
    is it worth joining a union?
    • #1
    • 10th Aug 17, 12:17 PM
    is it worth joining a union? 10th Aug 17 at 12:17 PM
    Hi,


    I have never cared for unions and what they do but I am worried about losing my job due to ill health and am wondering if a union can help me? like Unison (I work for local govt). The employer has to follow the sickness absence policy procedure that they have set out but some of the interpretation is at their discretion, I wonder if it's worth joining the union and they could have someone defend me? would it actually make a difference to the outcome of any decision my employer makes? I don't know.


    thanks for any advice
Page 3
    • Stylehutz
    • By Stylehutz 11th Aug 17, 1:43 PM
    • 246 Posts
    • 198 Thanks
    Stylehutz
    That's an extremely unpleasant comment to make. I work in an organisation where Union membership is taken up by many people. I, however, do not feel the need. I have an excellent understanding of my rights and also enjoy a decent relationship with my employer. In fact, the last time I was a Union member and utilised their services, the member in question commented on how well I coped and stated that he wasn't really required. Further, I have successfully managed my husband's action against his previous employers - to great success.


    I will not be hounded, or bullied, by people like you. As far as I am concerned, Union membership is a waste of money.
    Originally posted by readingfan
    Yet like many Union bashers on this thread. You would be willing to accept improved benefits like salary negotiated by the Union or Perhaps you will refuse to take them.
    • RichardD1970
    • By RichardD1970 11th Aug 17, 1:58 PM
    • 2,619 Posts
    • 3,826 Thanks
    RichardD1970
    It's fine for all those saying that they have a good relationship with their employer and can negotiate their own pay rises etc, but there are many millions of people that don't and can't.

    These millions of people are just fodder to their employers and beyond their immediate managers are just a payroll number.

    I've working in the motor industry nearly all my 30 years of working life and have never been in a position where I can individually influence a pay deal or change of conditions.

    Although I have never needed their help directly, and hope never have to, I will always be a member, just in case, and for all the other associated benefits that membership provides as well as the collective bargaining that they can bring to bear on pay etc.
    • bugslet
    • By bugslet 11th Aug 17, 2:09 PM
    • 5,546 Posts
    • 27,441 Thanks
    bugslet
    It's fine for all those saying that they have a good relationship with their employer and can negotiate their own pay rises etc, but there are many millions of people that don't and can't.
    Originally posted by RichardD1970
    Well as I was one of those people who did mostly have good relations with their employers, I'd just like to point out that at no point have I suggested that unions shouldn't exist, or that people shouldn't join. I merely dislike closed shops when they existed.

    I couldn't care less if my employees are or aren't union members, free world and all that.
    • Stylehutz
    • By Stylehutz 11th Aug 17, 2:40 PM
    • 246 Posts
    • 198 Thanks
    Stylehutz
    Well as I was one of those people who did mostly have good relations with their employers, I'd just like to point out that at no point have I suggested that unions shouldn't exist, or that people shouldn't join. I merely dislike closed shops when they existed.

    I couldn't care less if my employees are or aren't union members, free world and all that.
    Originally posted by bugslet
    Yes but the employees who arent want the same benefits as the employees who are without contributing anything . As I say they want something for nothing
    • Manxman in exile
    • By Manxman in exile 11th Aug 17, 3:06 PM
    • 861 Posts
    • 578 Thanks
    Manxman in exile
    Yes but the employees who arent want the same benefits as the employees who are without contributing anything . As I say they want something for nothing
    Originally posted by Stylehutz

    I'm afraid I don't always agree with your posts but I think you're spot on here.


    I'm sure that certain individuals may be able to negotiate better T&Cs with their employers (this board is full of people moaning that they do the same job as "X" but have just discovered - somehow - that "X" is being paid 20% more - "is this legal?").


    I'm a union fan but, like some other posters here, did not agree with a "Closed shop". (I'm assuming the OP doesn't even know what that means).


    You're always free to join a union or not - but if you don't, I'm not sure that you are on any high ground if you are benefiting from T&Cs negotiated by union members. Which the OP doesn't seem to appreciate.
    • Manxman in exile
    • By Manxman in exile 11th Aug 17, 3:25 PM
    • 861 Posts
    • 578 Thanks
    Manxman in exile
    Well as I was one of those people who did mostly have good relations with their employers, I'd just like to point out that at no point have I suggested that unions shouldn't exist, or that people shouldn't join. I merely dislike closed shops when they existed.

    I couldn't care less if my employees are or aren't union members, free world and all that.
    Originally posted by bugslet

    I'm a union fan but I agree with you about closed shops. You're posts are sensible on these and other boards. (A rare thing in itself!)


    I just tend to agree with some of the other posters on here that it seems odd that so many employees want to benefit from union negotiated T&Cs but without joining a union (which apparently is pointless). Of course, other people take a risk that you don't have to.
    • ReadingTim
    • By ReadingTim 11th Aug 17, 3:27 PM
    • 2,046 Posts
    • 2,957 Thanks
    ReadingTim
    If you wish to be a parasite, your call. Your member colleagues must hold you in high esteem.
    Originally posted by ohreally
    If a union wishes to negotiate higher wages for its members alone, then they're free to try, and non-members will have to accept that, or try negotiating individually.

    However, if the union negotiates for all employers, whether union member or not, or accepts a pay settlement which does not distinguish between union member and non-member, then any "parasite" is one of the union's own making.

    Still, they have always been as much a part of the problem as the solution.
    • elsien
    • By elsien 11th Aug 17, 3:38 PM
    • 15,171 Posts
    • 38,022 Thanks
    elsien
    I've always had good relationships with my employer. Doesn't mean I d trust them to do the right thing in a TUPE, disciplinary or redundancy situation though.

    I was given poor advice when I needed it because the union rep was very focussed on public sector rights and couldn't get his head round things being different in the voluntary sector. So I left. Always felt like the poor relation in a non unionised workplace. Not helped by infighting in the union about new community branches. Couldn't be doing with the politics of it all.

    Having said that, when facing another potentially TUPE I decided it was still better to have the resources of a large organisation trying to fight my corner than having to do it alone. So unless they do something really silly, now I'm back in I'll be staying a member.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
    • bugslet
    • By bugslet 11th Aug 17, 3:50 PM
    • 5,546 Posts
    • 27,441 Thanks
    bugslet
    I'm a union fan but I agree with you about closed shops. You're posts are sensible on these and other boards. (A rare thing in itself!)


    I just tend to agree with some of the other posters on here that it seems odd that so many employees want to benefit from union negotiated T&Cs but without joining a union (which apparently is pointless). Of course, other people take a risk that you don't have to.
    Originally posted by Manxman in exile
    Thank you for the compliment

    It is a dichotomy and I'm not sure what the solution is. Unions negotiate for their members and the non union negotiate individually.....we both know that would be illogical!

    If half the drivers at Bugs transport were in a union and a 2% pay increase was agreed, then the others could come to me individually, but it's very difficult to then pay them more or less without causing friction.

    In comparison to equivalent haulage companies, we do well in terms of pay and generally creating the best environment we can and if all employers did the same and all employees behaved the best they could, everything would be easier. However pigs will probably fly first on both counts!
    • Manxman in exile
    • By Manxman in exile 11th Aug 17, 5:21 PM
    • 861 Posts
    • 578 Thanks
    Manxman in exile
    Thank you for the compliment

    It is a dichotomy and I'm not sure what the solution is. Unions negotiate for their members and the non union negotiate individually.....we both know that would be illogical!

    If half the drivers at Bugs transport were in a union and a 2% pay increase was agreed, then the others could come to me individually, but it's very difficult to then pay them more or less without causing friction.

    In comparison to equivalent haulage companies, we do well in terms of pay and generally creating the best environment we can and if all employers did the same and all employees behaved the best they could, everything would be easier. However pigs will probably fly first on both counts!
    Originally posted by bugslet

    Yes, I understand. Insofar as you're an employer, I suspect you want to treat all of you're employees fairly and squarely - and that's to be admired. But I don't think all employers have your egalitarian point of view.


    I'm retired from the public sector on a reasonable pension and was paid a reasonable wage for what I did (plus the pension and other benefits). I appreciate that I'm in a fortunate position and I understand that that was not down to my individual negotiating skills, but to what the unions were able to bargain collectively. That's why it was important to be in a union. It may very well be different now.
    • Manxman in exile
    • By Manxman in exile 11th Aug 17, 5:37 PM
    • 861 Posts
    • 578 Thanks
    Manxman in exile
    If a union wishes to negotiate higher wages for its members alone, then they're free to try, and non-members will have to accept that, or try negotiating individually.

    However, if the union negotiates for all employers, whether union member or not, or accepts a pay settlement which does not distinguish between union member and non-member, then any "parasite" is one of the union's own making.

    Still, they have always been as much a part of the problem as the solution.
    Originally posted by ReadingTim

    I agree. But I think the union is trying to make it better for all employees, not necessarily those who contribute to it. Employers would prefer to negotiate with individual employees because the labour market puts employers in a stronger position. That's why (as I posted earlier) we have posters on here moaning about relative salary levels between themselves and others doing the "same job".


    I worked most of my working life in the public sector and me and my colleagues were on various pay scales where we all knew what we did and what we were paid for it. I find it bizarre on some of the posts on this board where private sector employees don't know what their counterparts in the same organisation are being paid! And, indeed, are not allowed to know! And could be sacked for finding out!


    So it seems to me all the cards are stacked in favour of the employer. Doesn't seem right to me...
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 11th Aug 17, 5:53 PM
    • 3,824 Posts
    • 6,240 Thanks
    sangie595
    I've always had good relationships with my employer. Doesn't mean I d trust them to do the right thing in a TUPE, disciplinary or redundancy situation though.

    I was given poor advice when I needed it because the union rep was very focussed on public sector rights and couldn't get his head round things being different in the voluntary sector. So I left. Always felt like the poor relation in a non unionised workplace. Not helped by infighting in the union about new community branches. Couldn't be doing with the politics of it all.

    Having said that, when facing another potentially TUPE I decided it was still better to have the resources of a large organisation trying to fight my corner than having to do it alone. So unless they do something really silly, now I'm back in I'll be staying a member.
    Originally posted by elsien
    I don't know which union you are in, but as a general piece of advice.... My union also had third sector members, huge numbers of them. So it may be the union you are in. We (and some of our colleagues) do have a specialised section for third sector workers. I totally agree with you - although I do work with public sector, I also handle third sector and started out working in that sector (and was a founder member of the section, decades ago) - many of my colleagues don't get it. And why would they? I'd be sc**wed if asked to represent a plumber! I know nothing about them!

    Find out whether your union has a sector specific section. They probably do. And get your representation from them and the officers supporting them. They'll know who is good. Public sector reps have good intentions and want to help, but they really don't understand just how very different the third sector is. I get why. On the face of it there are huge similarities. But they really aren't many. You need a specialist, just as anyone else would. The law may be the same. But the negotiating skills require a different mindset.
    • ReadingTim
    • By ReadingTim 11th Aug 17, 6:18 PM
    • 2,046 Posts
    • 2,957 Thanks
    ReadingTim
    So it seems to me all the cards are stacked in favour of the employer. Doesn't seem right to me...
    Originally posted by Manxman in exile
    I'm not so sure. The union movement was born in a time when workers had no rights, and employers had no responsibilities. Workers realised that collective bargaining was more effective than individual bargaining, including the threat to withdraw their labour. That the union movement has been fundamental in ensuring that nowadays employees do have rights, and employers have responsibilities cannot be denied.

    I think the challenge is that the union movement seems rooted in the past; determined to perpetuate an "us vs them" mentality and class struggle, whilst being as nakedly self-interested and self-serving as the employers they oppose so aggressively. But for many people today, they're simply irrelevant.

    The big "battles" have been fought and won - compare the UK to working practises in China, Bangladesh, the middle east etc now, or the UK 200 years ago and we're worlds apart. Whatever the new battlegrounds are, the union movement doesn't seem to have identified them, or recruited troops for the next skirmish.

    Furthermore, the likes of the gig economy and zero hours contracts make it seem like we're returning to the Victorian era, when the 'need' for unions was at its strongest. Yet they don't seem to have mobilised supporters this time around. Why is this?
    • scd3scd4
    • By scd3scd4 11th Aug 17, 7:27 PM
    • 455 Posts
    • 366 Thanks
    scd3scd4
    I see no point in commenting on how Unions use to behave. Any more than how some companies use to behave to their workers.


    I am a Union rep and we have collective bargaining. It works. We have a decent relationship with the company and for the most part we are treated well with good T&C that have been negotiated. Its my company at the end of the day and I want it to be successful. This is an example of how I behave......


    Lad is asked to stay behind for 25-30 minutes to finish a job. Moans to me. I remind him he asked to go early the other month. The company said yes and still paid him! Now what does he want to do!


    Members meet and then ask the reps to represent them with the company for pay deals, T&C changes and so on. If you are not in our Union then you do not have a say. The company does not negotiate with non Union member separately. They just get the same us the rest.


    Ohh and I would not represent someone after any event if they are not members. We are not here to be used while you save your subs.
    Last edited by scd3scd4; 11-08-2017 at 7:33 PM.
    • scd3scd4
    • By scd3scd4 11th Aug 17, 7:32 PM
    • 455 Posts
    • 366 Thanks
    scd3scd4
    However, if I joined a place with a heavy union membership, what would I do - hell would freeze over before I joined one. I'd be happy to negotiate my own Ts & Cs, but I doubt management would want to.

    .
    Originally posted by bugslet

    You will be doing nothing of the sort where I work. The management would not meet you and Union members would decide for you. lol
    Last edited by scd3scd4; 11-08-2017 at 7:47 PM.
    • Wayne O Mac
    • By Wayne O Mac 11th Aug 17, 7:42 PM
    • 206 Posts
    • 259 Thanks
    Wayne O Mac
    For all that I think the anti-union sentiment here is self-centred and foolish, at least they're not scabs.
    • greenorange
    • By greenorange 11th Aug 17, 8:23 PM
    • 317 Posts
    • 240 Thanks
    greenorange
    I work in the public sector and have been in my job for less than 2 years, so I assume joining a union would be pointless, as my employer could sack me without a reason right now anyway...
    • bugslet
    • By bugslet 11th Aug 17, 8:31 PM
    • 5,546 Posts
    • 27,441 Thanks
    bugslet
    You will be doing nothing of the sort where I work. The management would not meet you and Union members would decide for you. lol
    Originally posted by scd3scd4
    That was exactly my point!

    As I pointed out later in the thread, I don't want to be negotiating individually with my employees.
    • Manxman in exile
    • By Manxman in exile 11th Aug 17, 10:17 PM
    • 861 Posts
    • 578 Thanks
    Manxman in exile
    I'm not so sure. The union movement was born in a time when workers had no rights, and employers had no responsibilities. Workers realised that collective bargaining was more effective than individual bargaining, including the threat to withdraw their labour. That the union movement has been fundamental in ensuring that nowadays employees do have rights, and employers have responsibilities cannot be denied.

    I think the challenge is that the union movement seems rooted in the past; determined to perpetuate an "us vs them" mentality and class struggle, whilst being as nakedly self-interested and self-serving as the employers they oppose so aggressively. But for many people today, they're simply irrelevant.

    The big "battles" have been fought and won - compare the UK to working practises in China, Bangladesh, the middle east etc now, or the UK 200 years ago and we're worlds apart. Whatever the new battlegrounds are, the union movement doesn't seem to have identified them, or recruited troops for the next skirmish.

    Furthermore, the likes of the gig economy and zero hours contracts make it seem like we're returning to the Victorian era, when the 'need' for unions was at its strongest. Yet they don't seem to have mobilised supporters this time around. Why is this?
    Originally posted by ReadingTim

    I agree with your general point.


    gig economy and zero hours workers are at a total disadvantage but they aren't in a position to protect themselves.


    Ironically the Op is not happy with what unions "do" , but would want to benefit from being a member but doesn't want the "costs" of being a member.
    • Stylehutz
    • By Stylehutz 12th Aug 17, 11:21 AM
    • 246 Posts
    • 198 Thanks
    Stylehutz
    Cant think why anyone wouldnt want to join a Union. Would put it on a par with someone being a conscientious objecter. Not wanting to fight for your country but expecting others to do so, so your country can be free.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

945Posts Today

6,630Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • RT @LordsEconCom: On Tuesday Martin Lewis, Hannah Morrish & Shakira Martin gave evidence to the Cttee. Read the full transcript here: https?

  • Ta ta for now. Half term's starting, so I'm exchanging my MoneySavingExpert hat for one that says Daddy in big letters. See you in a week.

  • RT @thismorning: Can @MartinSLewis' deals save YOU cash? ???? https://t.co/igbHCwzeiN

  • Follow Martin