When an economic crisis arises in Britain, trade unions have often stepped up to protect worker’s rights and ensure that changes to the world of work are made in ways that are better for working people. In the last year, our working lives have changed more than we could have anticipated. The coronavirus pandemic shifted the workplace into the home for many, saw hundreds of thousands of workers furloughed and essential workers across the country facing a different working environment in their same workplaces.
No matter your workplace or how work changed for you throughout the pandemic, the trade union movement has been fighting for you. It is the trade unions that secured furlough, that are campaigning for your right to disconnect after working hours and that worked with industry and government to ensure those still working were, and remain, as safe as possible.
The difference unions can make has also been seen in individual workplaces. At Community we negotiated with employers and secured better support and protections for our members. For instance our members working for GeoAmey as Prison Escorts who at the height of the pandemic had their hours reduced. As a result of negotiations between Community and the company, the workforce still received full pay despite reduced hours. Take the workers at British Steel who received a bonus for working the pandemic, or those at Falck Fire Services who received a 6.2% pay increase – well above inflation.
Yet despite the victories workers and trade unions have secured, the pandemic has highlighted issues that have been bubbling for decades; childcare, safe working conditions, low sick pay, our country’s over reliance on imports – just to name a few. These issues are yet to be resolved in any meaningful long term way. As we move out of this crisis it’s imperative we face the issues head on, bring in more robust rights for workers and a stronger safety net.
Recent stats showing trade union membership rose again last year for the third consecutive year are no surprise. Working people clearly recognise the value trade unions can make in the workplace. However, to be as strong as possible to lobby and secure real long term change for workers, we need even more people to take the leap and join a trade union. The more people who join our movement, the stronger we will be to fight for the necessary changes to the world of work.
So for those of you who might be asking, can I join a trade union? Should I join a trade union? I ask you, do you want a better future for you and your colleagues? Do you want more rights, better pay and a stronger voice at work? If you do, then join us today.
It’s your legal right to join a union in the UK, and it’s illegal for your employer to disadvantage you because of your membership.
If the above hasn’t convinced you, find out more about why you should join Community and the benefits of membership here.
Community is a trade union fighting for a better working world. We help when life gets complicated, whether it’s at home or in the workplace. Our union supports members from all industries and walks of life. You can join us here.