Union membership

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by deltic, 26 Apr 2015.

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  1. deltic

    deltic Established Member

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    Back in the good/bad (depending on your political views) old days the railways were a closed shop with all employees, up to a certain level, required to join a recognised trade union. With changes in employment legislation and then privatisation what proportion of rail workers are now union members and how does it vary by TOC and job?

    Teaching now seems to be most unionised profession which is mainly because staff want to ensure they have legal protection in case of abuse allegations against them etc. Presumably rail staff in safety critical roles are also more likely to be union members for similar reasons?
     
  2. mph1977

    mph1977 Member

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    Healthcare professionals are also generally pretty heaviliy 'unionised' although the RCN / BMA / RCM etc aren;t TUC members ... again that's because of the legal cover and professional representation aspects - thje politically left tend to be unison or unite members where there is a choice
     
  3. NSEFAN

    NSEFAN Established Member

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    Relations between staff and management appear to be quite hostile, from what staff have posted on here. Whether this is because of or despite the union I do not know.
     
  4. scott118

    scott118 Member

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    The trouble is, there are too many to choose from, hence the fragmented unity that a union once had. Drivers can be in ASLEF or the RMT, or indeed none. As can guards, then you have the booking staff who are also using RMT and TSSA. To get all four around a table, cometh the pay deal, where all are recognised by the TOC, is where they fall down, as each union represents, a different part of the railway, and the fight then, becomes somewhat diluted.

    Cost is also a surprising factor, that some bare in mind, when choosing whether to be a part of one or not. That said, can a monthly subscription, save your job? No. Others are sometimes, put off by the political views of a union. Also, the attitude of LLR's can sway favour too, although some are 'seen' to be doing the role for personal benefits only. Again, choice dilutes strength.

    In today's working environments, i think that any union, regardless of profession, isn't as it once was...
     
    Last edited: 26 Apr 2015
  5. RJ

    RJ Established Member

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    I've been in a union since 2010. Not once had to invoke their services however, never been in trouble.
     
  6. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham Established Member

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    Within the signalling grades RMT membership was declining rapidly, with people moving to either the TSSA or Unison.
    Not sure what the current membership levels are now like, but they were very low, a lot caused by the attitude of the ex leader of the RMT towards the grade.
     
  7. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    In my discussions with people at all levels of my company, the most oft quoted reason given for being in a union is as an insurance policy in case they do something wrong.

    Which makes me wonder, if companies provided independent employee liability insurance, free of charge, would this affect membership? I think this is what GBRf do.

    And another thing, which union are union employees in?
     
  8. Smudger105e

    Smudger105e Established Member

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    I was in TSSA and the TSSA Head Office staff were in GMB I seem to remember.

    The thing about being in a TU in case you do something wrong, you can hardly expect your employer to pay for your defence and/or representation if they put you on a Form 1 for any reason!
     
  9. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    Quite, hence the independent bit.

    And, actually, I think most employers want their employees to be treated fairly. Accepting it may not seem like that!
     
  10. Smudger105e

    Smudger105e Established Member

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    I was given a final written warning by a previous employer for forwarding an email from Bob Crow. So it didn't appear that they wanted to treat me fairly at all!
     
  11. dk1

    dk1 Established Member

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    Been in the NUR, RMT, TSSA & now ASLEF in my 30yrs & at no point was i not in a union. There are very few conductors i work with who are not in a union & several catering, but i know of no driver that isn't, hence the solidarity that is as strong as ever in this grade.
     
  12. 455driver

    455driver Veteran Member

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    As has been mentioned many many times, Union membership is just like an insurance policy, you pay hoping to never need it but its there 'just in case'!
     
  13. alxndr

    alxndr Member

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    Of all the people I work with they are all RMT except for one who is TSSA. If any are not in a union then they keep quiet about the fact.

    That said, I would say the split in membership for apprentices is closer to 30:70 with the majority not being in a union, despite many people pointing out that for us it's £5 a year for piece of mind until we're fully qualified. The attitude towards unions seems to be changing,with less people understanding what they're there for which further weakens them.
     
  14. Minilad

    Minilad Established Member

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    There are one or two in my depot not in a union. Usually because of a dispute. Not many though. And we have recently had a sacking that probably wouldn't have got to that had the individual been a union member and had the appropriate protections
     
  15. Jamesb1974

    Jamesb1974 Member

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    What tends to get overlooked is that most of the terms and conditions and pay deals have been negotiated through a Union, whether it be ASLEF, RMT or anyone else. The aim of all trade unions is protect and advance the interests of their members in the workplace and they do that by negotiating for better terms, conditions and pay (among other things).

    For me, personally speaking I want that safety net in case something goes awry, whether it is my fault or not. Having been twice interviewed by the professional standards people in my previous career (first time mistaken identity and second time a malicious complaint) I can say that having a professional body to back you up in times of need is worth its weight in gold.
     
  16. AntoniC

    AntoniC Member

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    I`m a Civil Servant with 25+ years service and been a PCS member since day 1.

    The Union have helped me 3 times in that time,
    1st time when my manager tried to take action over my sick leave - that was a score draw
    2nd time - when I was falsely accused of sexual harassment - not guilty of that
    3rd time - when I was accused of minor misconduct - guilty to that !.

    Like others , I look at PCS membership being an insurance policy - and I am glad I had it for incidents 1 & 2 !.
     
  17. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    Stand by for the Tory trolling to begin...............

    Office staff are less likely to join a union as they often ( with a wide sweeping generailsation brush to hand) come from sections of society less likely to join a union. This creates something of a catch 22 as the union power and ability to drive a decent deal for all (not just members thanks to collective bargaining rights) decreases and would be members challenge on the "what the union does for me/what do i pay my subs for?" line.

    I get into trouble with the union for expressly stating you should treat it as an insurance policy because when there is a brown stuff/fan interaction or you managers are trying to extract the urine you will be really pleased to have someone like me arguing your case.

    The union staff in the TSSA (of which i am a member) are in the GMB and have fairly recently been on strike! It was pythonesque in its absurdity ;)
     
    Last edited: 26 Apr 2015
  18. Holly

    Holly Member

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    RMT now formally supports TUSC, which some have described as "Old Labour" (Callaghan, Wilson, Attlee).
    As contrasted with "New Labour" (Brown, Blair) which is TUC supported.
    So some may choose for that reason.
     
  19. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    I think unions do a good job where you're in an individual spot of bother. They are often quite skilled at negotiating in this situation and will be aware of how previous similar cases they've been involved with were dealt with.

    Where they're not so good (in my personal experience) is in a collective situation. At my previous employer there were a number of redundancies and I was one of the unfortunate ones selected. I felt my selection was unfair but found the union unwilling to assist. It felt like they they knew they were losing 30 employees (and therefore 30 union members) and they weren't interested in which 30 it was or the integrity of the selection process.
     
  20. sarahj

    sarahj Established Member

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    As others have said I'm in the uinion, RMT if you must know, for the protection that I hope I never need. I'm not active and when I heard Bob speak I did not agree with what he had to say. Still glad i shook his hand though.
    Getting some of the younger ones to join is a battle. Whats in it for them seems to be what they look for. For the whatever you pay every 4 weeks, I think they want a new i phone tbh. Its like insurance in a way, no one likes to pay for it, but when the s*#t hits the fan, your glad you did. Mind they are always happy to take the pay rises and add ons that the union sort out.

    Its the same reason the social fund folded at Brighton. Getting the new folks to pay a £5 a year was impossible. 'What have they ever done for us?'

    Vending machines
    subsidised trips and events
    xmas party
    and many others.

    alas....
     
  21. Carlisle

    Carlisle Established Member

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    Yes i can remember a lot of larger companies used to have a very similar set up but it's mostly disappeared, ,maybe for similar reasons many of our local pubs have gone and few people now expect to remain loyal to one firm for a long period even if in reality the lack of quality jobs out there mean a fair number often do end up staying put somewhere for a lot longer than they originally planned
     
    Last edited: 26 Apr 2015
  22. muz379

    muz379 Established Member

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    I too am in the RMT . Personally for me the main reason is the insurance that is there. If you ever have something go wrong and you are getting interviewed by management with a view to disciplinary action you will have someone representing you at that meeting who has as much knowledge and experience with that disciplinary policy as the manager/HR bod interviewing you . Ensuring that everything is above board and fair .

    I also understand that the stronger the union in the workplace the more bargaining power it has with pay and conditions negotiations . Part of making that union strong is membership figures .

    In a previous employment I was also a member of USDAW , They managed to convince my employer that I should be paid for two weeks off I had following an accident at work without me having to go through a tribunal to secure the pay .
     
  23. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    I remember consulting with my (then) reps about a resignalling scheme that would see 40+ posts go, where I managed to secure voluntary redundancy for anyone who wanted it (strictly speaking, not company policy at the time). Unfortunately I could not guarantee that there would be no compulsory redundancies, although none were expected, as the voluntary take up was pretty high.

    The reps were quite vociferous about how wrong it was not to have that guarantee, and threatened a dispute right through the process even after it was clear that everyone who wanted a job could have one.

    Meanwhile, at the same time, the RMT were making several officers compulsorily redundant at Unity House.

    I did have a chuckle about that with the reps after it had all blown over.
     
  24. 33056

    33056 Established Member

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    RMT membership amongst signallers and MOMs in our area has actually increased in the last couple of years, but I am not sure if this increase is reflected nationally.
     
  25. 1018509

    1018509 Member

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    In my 41 years with London Transport and its successors I was, for about 3 years ,not in the union because of its ever increasing leftwards leanings which eventually moderated and so I joined again.

    I am very grateful to the union for the excellent wages and pension fund which I am sure are only so good because of the careful watch, kept by the union, on them.

    Long live the unions.
     
  26. Robertj21a

    Robertj21a Established Member

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    I think another issue when discussing office staff (in general) is that, by definition, they tend to have closer contact with management. This may give them greater reassurance that something 'nasty' is less likely to happen to them - staff who work away from management most of the time may, quite understandably, have less confidence since their frequency of contact is much less.
     
  27. Greenback

    Greenback Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Closer contact with management is not a guarantee of greater confidence in them, it has been the other way around for me in some jobs.
     
  28. ge-gn

    ge-gn Member

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    having spoken to a few apprentices at my employer over the last few years, it seems when they go away on their years residential training there is an underlying anti Union doctrine going on ( other than the apparent 30mins presentation with an RMT bod in the first few days, which is the company paying lip service).

    Let us face facts, the company do not want collectivism giving folk strength against them. They want individuals who salute and say yes sir no matter what is asked of them.

    People often don't realise what the union is for until it's too late.
     
  29. alxndr

    alxndr Member

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    A far few people signed up after our RMT talk (including me), not sure this year's had one at all. They certainly didn't have one by the time we did. Never heard any anti-unionist talk though, it just doesn't seem necessary to a lot of people at that point. It might be been helped for my year that they pressed for, and got us, a payrise.
     
  30. ge-gn

    ge-gn Member

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    Of course, the company (I suspect we work for the same one) would never officially say that one shouldn't join the union, indeed they will pay lip service to encouraging it. However, I understand (I am way to old to have gone on that boat) that the likes of me are talked about unofficially as awkward Union dinosaurs. You shiny new starters are encouraged to take the new path. Unfortunately it's a path where collectivism is dying in favour of a workplace where p*ssing up someone else's back to achieve ones goals is fostered.

    Not saying you are. Just my opinion.
     
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