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to think the Unions have a point?

(99 Posts)
weresquirrel Mon 19-Dec-16 16:07:28

So many companies/services have been privatised. The effect seems to be branch closures, loss of staff to be replaced by machines, longer queues, worse service and a lot more expensive.

I also think it is frightening how many workers rights are being eroded and workers are expected to work far longer, for less pay and in worse conditions.

Of course the media makes out that the Unions are all evil, Christmas wrecking baddies but actually with the rise of zero-hours contracts and loss of any kind of security for so many people, I think they actually have a point.

Of course I don't wish any one delays and I hate the frustration of getting places on strike days but perhaps it is better that we have all this now while there is still the possibility of workers rights being maintained than we have a population of workers that has no rights and forced to acquiesce to the whims of the Government and big business?

Dadstheworld Mon 19-Dec-16 16:11:21

"Workers are expected to work far longer, for less pay and in worse conditions"

Are they?

TrueBlueYorkshire Mon 19-Dec-16 16:17:00

The conditions for the average worker are far better now than at any point in history. Would you prefer we go back to some imaginary past utopia?

CockacidalManiac Mon 19-Dec-16 16:26:37

I mostly agree with you, OP. Without unions, we'd have no Annual leave or sick pay. We see how employment is becoming more and more casualised, with all flexibility coming from the employees not the employer. This casualisation is generally non unionised jobs. We have much to thank trade unions for.
I really can't comment on the current disputes though, I haven't really looked into the reasons behind them.

PlayOnWurtz Mon 19-Dec-16 16:27:12

And in the news on planet earth...

EngTech Mon 19-Dec-16 16:29:13

I see both sides of the argument as well.

Basically if it involves pay, someone, normally, Jo Public, has to pay for it with increased prices for that service.

If it is about safety, cut backs will happen until the "Oops, we have cut too far" conversation happens and / or the work backs up that remaining staff can't cope with the result that the complaints from the general public get to a certain trigger level to increase staffing levels again

We could always go back to the "Winter of Discontent" era though and look what happened in the future when that happened.

If people are that hacked off with the place they work or how they are treated plus management don't know how to look after their staff, I expect, striking is the "nuclear" option and at a time that will have the most impact i.e. Christmas.

Basically, Joe Public suffers while both sides throw their toys out of the pram

Coffeethrowtrampbitch Mon 19-Dec-16 16:41:16

I agree. We have very poor workers' rights for such a rich country.

Wages in the UK have dropped 13.4%, in the same period most European countries have seen theirs rise- even Poland has had a wage increase of 10% in the same period.

Wages and conditions need to rise, otherwise we will keep subsidising large private companies to pay poor wages by having to pay their employees tax credits to make sure they can live. We are running a high deficit and taxing large companies too lightly, and we will get further and further in debt unless they contribute more to the economy, either through direct taxation or by paying their workers more so that they can pay more tax.

wasonthelist Mon 19-Dec-16 16:43:46

even Poland has had a wage increase of 10% in the same period.

I wonder if that's supply and demand since their workforce has shrunk?

wasonthelist Mon 19-Dec-16 16:45:08

YANBU OP, by the way

Sheld0n Mon 19-Dec-16 16:51:41

YANBU, obviously.
Yes they are Dads, my job for a well-known, respected institution drove me almost to breaking point and I'm still recovering from the MH issues it caused. I genuinely think you would be shocked if I said the name and how people are treated - union support kept me going until I was able to walk out.

cherrycrumblecustard Mon 19-Dec-16 16:53:49

I agree with OP. I think that a lot of recent drives for 'the poor' have tried to increase or prioritise welfare. But it's not just about whether you can get a job or not but what life is like in that job.

Namechangebitch Mon 19-Dec-16 17:00:21

I am a union rep. We do an awful lot of work representing members people know nothing about.
Members don't want their disciplinaries and competency hearings made public so most people don't realise what help we give.
Having seen what happens I would not want to work where there is no union support. We have access to legal advice and experienced negotiators. It is not just about strike action.

The unions are far from perfect but the 1970s when the unions were, arguably, at their strongest was the decade of the most social movement. Movement which has now stopped.

Itisnoteasybeingdifferent Mon 19-Dec-16 17:17:49

When I was in Unison and seriously ill and needed help big time...

Unison were as much use as a chocolate teapot. I lost my job when Unison could / should have been hollering from the battlements in defence of someone who was very ill and unable to work because of it.

Meanwhile the posties are going on strike... if they don't want to work I will use email and not bother with the post. How exactly will it help if people stop posting letters in response to strikes?

CockacidalManiac Mon 19-Dec-16 17:20:02

Anyone who thinks that the advances in social conditions in the 20th century were down to the benevolence of employers, is daft.
It was down to trade unionism, and the Labour Party.

NecklessMumster Mon 19-Dec-16 17:22:49

YANBU. I support working people, the whole point of a strike is the inconvenience, media and govt try to discredit them

Manumission Mon 19-Dec-16 17:26:12


It's easy to be insulated and complacent and ignore what's happenyay the bottom of the labour market, as posters on this thread have already proved.

originalmavis Mon 19-Dec-16 17:27:26

I read the title as 'AIBU to think the Unicorns have a point?'. I need my glasses changed.

honeyroar Mon 19-Dec-16 17:27:57

I agree. I do think working conditions are starting to go backwards and we as a nation don't support each other, we've become selfish.

Personally I want more prison officers, police, post offices in my area, safety on trains and planes etc. I think many companies are creaming off the profit for boards and shareholders while expecting their workforce to pay the price. If people stand up and protest about it I applaud them, even if it makes my life more awkward for a few days.

HemanOrSheRa Mon 19-Dec-16 17:36:16

I agree with Namechange. I've been union member for 26 years. The unions do an awful lot of work that people don't know about. I also rather like living in a country (at the moment) where we have a right to protest.

I've worked for a large LA for 26 years. I still believe (possibly misplaced) that it is the duty of LA/Public Services to set the standard for the treatment of employees. When that starts going down the pan then we know we are in trouble.

OlennasWimple Mon 19-Dec-16 17:42:24

I wholeheartedly support trade unionism as an entity. I have always been a member of a trade union, and will always be one whenever possible. I fully support the right to take industrial action, up to and including the withdrawal of labour. I understand that to be effective, industrial action has to have a disruptive effect.

I think striking or working to rule over the Christmas is cynical and shows a lack of respect for the service users who will be directly impacted by this. And very poor judgment - if I can't see my family at Christmas because of industrial action, I won't be cross at the company bosses who the unions are hoping to hold to ransom, I will be cross at the union leadership who thought this was a great bargaining tactic.

BusyBeez99 Mon 19-Dec-16 17:45:23

They won't get any sympathy for me by striking over Christmas. Hard working people trying to get to see loved ones having their trip ruined by cynical trade unions. Disgraceful.

Branleuse Mon 19-Dec-16 17:46:26


ThoraGruntwhistle Mon 19-Dec-16 17:52:35

YANBU. The point of a strike is to show what it's like when those workers withdraw their labour, thereby inconveniencing people, otherwise there's no point.
It's like during a teachers strike and you see comments like 'why can't they strike during the school holidays instead of inconveniencing parents?' confusedSpectacularly missing the point.

HemanOrSheRa Mon 19-Dec-16 17:59:36

Yy Thora of course that is the whole point. There will have been a whole long process of consultation and negotiations before it gets to the point of strike action. Striking workers don't get paid. Although they can apply to their UNION for a payment.

A long, long time ago when I first started work there was selective strike action. So for example, all of the admin staff would strike. They were the lowest paid and would be the most affected. The whole system would grind to a halt.

MeadowHay Mon 19-Dec-16 18:02:25

YANBU. People don't strike just cos they fancy it. Striking is tiring, stressful, and can often result in a loss of income. It's not some fun day out for workers created only to inconvenience the public like some people seem to think it is hmm. People who don't understand Unions and industrial action etc are extremely lucky never to have needed to resort to them, nothing more. It could be your profession/job next. We need solidarity between workers of different sectors. United we stand, divided we fall - and the divisions are so deep now, how else would the Tories have been able to privatise Royal Mail, be in the process of privatising the NHS, be crumbling the Post Office, be ignoring disgusting exploitation of people by huge corporations like Amazon who simultaneously avoid paying the tax they owe. It's disgusting and the only way to target the people responsible is if we unite. I absolutely support all the upcoming strikes/industrial action and I hope they are successful and wish all the involved workers the best of luck and hope that their Xmas period isn't as stressful as it's gearing up to be.

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