There's never been a more important time to join a union. As 26 billionaires own as many assets as the poorest 50 per cent of the world's population, ordinary people are finding it harder to make ends meet. Trade unions fight for working people so they get a fairer share of profits, which, in turn, leads to a healthy economy and stable society. So what do they offer?
1. Better wages and benefits
It's proven that workers who are trade union members earn more than non-unionized workers. Trade unions use their collective muscle to bargain for better salaries, pensions, holidays, health insurance, sick pay, overtime and more. Trade unions hammer out negotiations with management to get the best possible deal for employees, so you don't have to.
2. Personal protection
Unions have got your back. Not only can they tell you your rights, they will defend your rights. If your employer treats you unfairly, you can rely on support and expert representation from your union. A trade union rep is a trusted person to turn to when you're unhappy at work or management is behaving badly. And, as the workplace is transformed by automation and robotics, trade unions are demanding training, lifelong learning and social protection for workers to transition to the new world of work.
Trade unions champion equal rights and equal pay. They fight discrimination against race, gender, sexual orientation and disability. They foster respect and dignity in the workplace. Trade unions promote maternity rights, flexible working and paternity pay, so that caring responsibilities are shared. Today, some of the world's biggest trade unions are led by women and unions are actively encouraging women and young people to take on leadership roles in union structures. As a trade union rep, you can make your workplace better.
4. Health and safety
Unionized workplaces are safer – fact. That's because trade unions won't let workers put their lives at risk to meet production targets or save the company money. The only people with the moral authority to assess the risk are those who face the risk. And the only way to have a voice is to have a union. With the backing of a union, you can feel confident in saying no to dangerous work without losing your job. Trade unions campaign tirelessly for safer working conditions, and can be thanked for most of the gains in workplace health and safety.
Trade unions have an incredible network that spans the world. Global trade unions, like IndustriALL, which counts over 600 trade union affiliates in 140 countries, can use their membership of millions to command the attention of the very biggest corporations. Global unions can raise a serious issue that is getting ignored at the plant or office level, with the top management of a multinational company. Often, senior management is unaware of a problem that's going on locally, and global unions can help resolve an issue on the ground. When you join a union, you join a global family.