Are you tired of working almost 40 hours a week for a salary around the market average for your qualifications and skill set? Are you unhappy that your benefits are only marginally better than 95% of the country’s workforce? Do you have no qualms about holding innocent people, uninvolved in your dispute, to ransom in order to try and get what you want? Maybe you need a Trade Union.
Trade Unions are a great British tradition, dating back to the days when sketchy employment laws meant that workers had to group together to fight for their rights. Having evolved through massive abuse of power, they are now an ideal bargaining tool if you feel that your employer is unreasonably attempting to work within a budget, rather than giving you an extra 10% pay rise and cutting your working hours.
‘All I had to do was not go to work for a day every now and then, costing my employer millions by grounding flights, while disrupting thousands of people trying to go away on holiday.’ said Paul Lewis, a baggage handler at Heathrow and enthusiastic union member, ‘I got an 8% pay rise and won the right to carry on sneaking out early, to play with the latest electrical gadgets that I’d stolen from the mangled remains of somebody’s luggage, after I’d kicked it about a bit. It was brilliant. I’d definitely recommend Trade Unions to anybody.’
A heart-warming tale indeed from Paul, but compare that to Johnny Slatter, an office worker from Kent who is not a Trade Union member.
‘The company I worked for was struggling in the present market conditions, operating at a loss and having to make cutbacks. They told us all that we wouldn’t be getting a pay rise, and there would be some redundancies.’ explained Johnny, who is presently unemployed, ‘This upset us so we decided we wanted to do something about it. We didn’t have a union but wanted to follow their lead. So I called in a bomb threat at Heathrow and told my employer that the disruption would only end when they agreed to scrap the redundancies and give everybody a 5% increase in our salaries.’
Johnny’s employer ignored his threats and pressed ahead with the redundancies. ‘They said they couldn’t afford to keep going as they were and something had to give, so I went into the managing director’s office and held a gun to his head.’ continued Johnny, ‘Do you know what happened? They threw me in jail. I wish I’d been in a Trade Union.’
Trade Unions – we’ll work for you. And fuck everybody else over in the process.