That’s bullshit about, not from, trade unions. It would of course be disingenuous to suggest that there’s never any bullshit from trade unions. There is. It’s good bullshit though. Well intentioned bullshit. The bullshit of the righteous. To say trade union bullshit smells of roses would be pushing it but it smells a lot less rancid than the bullshit about trade unions.
The bullshit predominantly flies at us from three main classes of bovine bottom: the mainstream media, Government representatives/employers and folk who choose to believe the mainstream media and Government representatives/employers. This is an attempt to explain to the latter the failings with the arguments of the former two.
Unions threaten to bring London/Airports/Britain to a halt:
This displays a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of industrial action. Industrial action is a reaction to an intransigent employer and is a means of encouraging said employer to start negotiating again. If anywhere is actually brought to a halt it is the fault of the employer, not the union members. Would you blame the bath water for emptying after the plug’s been pulled out?
Negotiations are ongoing:
Maybe, but are they meaningful? If we’re negotiating to keep the shoes on our feet we don’t expect to end up in meetings negotiating which colour socks we’ll be allowed to wear after they’ve been taken.
Strikes aren’t well supported:
If that’s the case (it’s not) why the panic about unions threatening to bring London/Airports/Britain to a halt?
They’re trying to fight our democratically elected Government:
Disregarding the dubious use of ‘democratically’ it should be remembered that governments aren’t always right. That’s right with a small ‘r’. They’re usually Right with a big ‘R’. That’s largely why they’re so rarely right.
All they’re bothered about is supporting their members:
Well, yes and no. That is what members pay their subscriptions for. However, when you consider that union members work in pretty much every industry, provide your public services and have families to support, and that non-members also benefit from the things unions win, I think you’ll find that by supporting their members unions are actually supporting pretty much everybody. Part of that is supporting members in the workplace but another part of it is supporting them by fighting to save public services, campaigning for more equal distribution of wealth and influencing policies which benefit all employees (parental leave, sick pay, paid holidays…) If that doesn’t sway you, bear in mind that trade unions save employers many millions of pounds a year (source).
Whether representing members in the public or private sectors, small businesses or multinationals, trade unions help make things better, or at least help stop them getting worse.
If you’re not a member yet you should probably pop by this site and find one you can join.
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