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Unions - good or bad?

Unions - good or bad?

  • Good. They are massively helpful organisations

    Votes: 36 53.7%
  • Good. They do need to tone down somewhat though

    Votes: 21 31.3%
  • Bad. Without the strong action though, they wouldn't be a major problem for the rest of us

    Votes: 3 4.5%
  • Bad. They must be stopped

    Votes: 6 9.0%
  • Don't care

    Votes: 1 1.5%

  • Total voters
    67
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Ivo

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A controversial topic I know, but oh well...

Put simply, do you think Unions are beneficial to the country, or detrimental?

Once again I expect to be in the minority in answering that I believe they cause more harm than good, but we'll see. I won't say too much else on the matter for now, other than to say the following.

On various occasions in my life, I have been inconvenienced by Unions. Unions that offer a service to fight for employee (etc) rights. Now, in theory, the latter should negate the former - but I have practically fought my way to University and know full well that no Union - even if one was genuinely available - would have done a better job than I did on my own. Why should we pay for a service that is ultimately of very little value, given we can do exactly the same thing without their help? Yes, OK, their voices are taken more seriously than that of one person - but supposing the many joined together, akin to a Union (but without the payments or the public inconvenience), the voice becomes strong. And thus, the one major purpose of the Union is eliminated. I have only ever been affiliated with one such organisation, and even then it was not a matter of choice - and what good have they done me? It's been the other way round! (I refer of course to my Students' Union.)

End of post. Comments? I expect this thread to be quite lively.
 
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ACE1888

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Were far too powerful in the 70's, Thatcher 'hammered' them in the 80's, used in a proper way, can be a very useful 'tool' for BOTH sides, the Bosses and The Workers IMHO, the 'go between' I see them as.
One thing I don't personally like is the 'militant' attitude with some still, it doesn't help anyone basically, apply 'common sense' and see 'fairs fair' I say...
 

Lampshade

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Ensuring the best pay and conditions for their members, fair enough.

Obviously taking the **** when other companies have had pay freezes and redundancies, then I have issues.
 

Ivo

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I forgot to add a "Not Sure"/"They are OK at present" option <(

If this is the case, vote "Don't care" and say as much.

Oh, and before anyone suggests it, I did not vote Option #4.
 

D841 Roebuck

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Without unions there would be no NHS. Wages would be paid in kind, rather than cash. Very few people would own their own homes. Large chunks of Africa would still be white-ruled.

And that's assuming that unchecked capitalism hadn't unleashed a series of "limited" nuclear wars.

Mind you, Maggie Thatcher wouldn't have had a scholarship available to go to Oxford...
 

ainsworth74

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I think they have their place in the world and they are quite important as go between for workers and management. But as with others the problems come when they become very militant, especially when they do so over seemingly a fairly minor issue (see the current EMT strikes). Problems also arise when they seem to oppose any changes to anything without any sort of compromise or acceptance that somethings need to change, here I mean the strikes we had a few months ago by Unite and others who seemingly striked simply because the government were proposing making changes and also threaten a strike over pretty much anything that the government or other organisations propose changes.

So yeah I don't have much of an issue with unions but I just wish they weren't so militant (in some cases) all the time.
 

SS4

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Definitely a good thing. Without the unions you'd have a one-party system in name as well as policy.

It is my opinion that they get a very rough treatment in the media, the latter determined to make the former conform to the Thatcherist view.
 

NY Yankee

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I'm ambivalent about unions. Like in the UK, there are unions in America. They protect worker's rights. Without unions, workers would be subject to deplorable working conditions and could be fired for any trivial reason. However, sometimes unions are abused. They go on strike and hurt consumers (or in the case of the Tube, passengers).
 

Butts

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In my view the Unions should be concentrating on helping the poorest members of society rather than trying to improve the pay and conditions of people who are largely already better off in comparison.

This is not exclusively a responsibilty for them to shoulder but they should be at the forefront of the fight.

It's quite galling to see people arguing about slight changes to index linked pensions when a lot of workers have no pension at all.

A lot of employees have no sick pay schemes either and poor working conditions.

This is before you even start mentioning low rates of pay.

Perhaps we should be concentrating efforts (and sacrificing if necessary) in order that everyone has at least reasonable leave , pension, sick pay and a living wage.:idea:

Comrade Butts signing off :p
 

Temple Meads

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Definitely a good thing. Without the unions you'd have a one-party system in name as well as policy.

It is my opinion that they get a very rough treatment in the media, the latter determined to make the former conform to the Thatcherist view.

This.

Unions give a voice to the little guy, and when operated correctly, should help the workers immeasurably, and despite the bad press they receive, I feel they do this in most cases, certainly the working world is better off with them here.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
In my view the Unions should be concentrating on helping the poorest members of society rather than trying to improve the pay and conditions of people who are largely already better off in comparison.

But Unions are there to represent their members, whatever the current pay and conditions of those members are, they should strive for better.

In my eyes that is one of the major requirements for a Union.
 

Butts

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This.

Unions give a voice to the little guy, and when operated correctly, should help the workers immeasurably, and despite the bad press they receive, I feel they do this in most cases, certainly the working world is better off with them here.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---


But Unions are there to represent their members, whatever the current pay and conditions of those members are, they should strive for better.

In my eyes that is one of the major requirements for a Union.

Yes but surely those at the bottom deserve the most attention as we are effectively creating an underclass - should those above not be prepared to make sacrifices so these people can be afforded a living wage.
 

Temple Meads

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Yes but surely those at the bottom deserve the most attention as we are effectively creating an underclass - should those above not be prepared to make sacrifices so these people can be afforded a living wage.

I presume you are talking about the lowest paid members in a Union rather than generally worse off people (as I had assumed :lol:), then yes, of course the Union should champion these members above the highest paid staff, although they shouldn't be forgotten either.
 

Butts

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I presume you are talking about the lowest paid members in a Union rather than generally worse off people (as I had assumed :lol:), then yes, of course the Union should champion these members above the highest paid staff, although they shouldn't be forgotten either.

No I am talking about everyone on low pay whether in a Union or not - this is the nations hidden shame that needs to be addressed. If this means some people have to miss out on some of lifes luxuries is that not a price worth paying ?:p
 

Temple Meads

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No I am talking about everyone on low pay whether in a Union or not - this is the nations hidden shame that needs to be addressed. If this means some people have to miss out on some of lifes luxuries is that not a price worth paying ?:p

It would be a very good thing, no doubt about that :)

But Unions are in place to support their workers, so I think sorting out poverty is a little outside their remit :p
 

SS4

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No I am talking about everyone on low pay whether in a Union or not - this is the nations hidden shame that needs to be addressed. If this means some people have to miss out on some of lifes luxuries is that not a price worth paying ?:p

The tricky part is that it's a necessity of capitalism to have the proletariat producing the goods and services for the bourgeoisie (terms shamelessly stolen from Marxism). Of course it'd be good if everyone could be paid a living wage.
Nowadays what would be considered one of life's luxuries?
 

Butts

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It would be a very good thing, no doubt about that :)

But Unions are in place to support their workers, so I think sorting out poverty is a little outside their remit :p

Well they feel free to comment about a lot of other issues "outside of their remit" - and would they accept freezing their members pay in order that the poorest people get a decent bite of the cherry.

As I mentioned earlier it is not just their responsibilty , but they ought to be campaigning on behalf of exploited workers.
 

Clip

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No I am talking about everyone on low pay whether in a Union or not - this is the nations hidden shame that needs to be addressed. If this means some people have to miss out on some of lifes luxuries is that not a price worth paying ?:p

But you dont need to have luxuries in your life, unless of course if you're shallow enough to believe that have luxuries make you happier than those that dont.

What luxuries are you talking about here Butts?
 

SS4

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The main purpose of unions is to defend and enhance worker's pay and conditions. They can do this because a union by definition provides a collective and unified voice to it's members in turn giving them power at the negotiating table disabling divide and rule.

Something our politicians may like to pay attention to is that a majority* vote is needed to pass any action balloted including industrial action and pay offers iirc.

* Majority is being used in the true sense of the word - meaning over 50%
 

yorksrob

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No I am talking about everyone on low pay whether in a Union or not - this is the nations hidden shame that needs to be addressed. If this means some people have to miss out on some of lifes luxuries is that not a price worth paying ?:p

I think there are a few others who ought to be ahead of your average union member in that particular queue.
 

SS4

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Luxuries is too difficult to pin down as they're relative. Living in Birmingham I do not consider a car a luxury but someone in the countryside would.

Unions are only what their members make of them. I'd be interested to see how much anti-union sentiment is ultimately jealousy - basically "I don't get a pay rise - why should they?!" or "My union isn't good so nobody else's should be"
 

Butts

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The tricky part is that it's a necessity of capitalism to have the proletariat producing the goods and services for the bourgeoisie (terms shamelessly stolen from Marxism). Of course it'd be good if everyone could be paid a living wage.
Nowadays what would be considered one of life's luxuries?

I would say that everyone should have decent affordable housing and enough money to heat their home and put food on the table. Plus of course have funds for clothing. I'm not talking a fortnight in The Maldives :p

The fact is people die of hypothermia because of lack of heating funds and a lot of people do not have access to decent housing etc.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Luxuries is too difficult to pin down as they're relative. Living in Birmingham I do not consider a car a luxury but someone in the countryside would.

Unions are only what their members make of them. I'd be interested to see how much anti-union sentiment is ultimately jealousy - basically "I don't get a pay rise - why should they?!" or "My union isn't good so nobody else's should be"

Or for Bankers - "I don't get a bonus why should they" :p

I'm talking people on minimum wage living in crap housing - I get the impression average workers care no more about them than bankers do.:p
 

Yew

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I have little experience of Unions, however when I worked in retail I found that older memebers of staff had some Substantially better terms in their contract (double time where I was on time and a half for example, and a few other things I cant quite remember) And it felt like my generation had been sold out as companies realised that after giving the 'baby boomers' good benefits, they couldn't afford to keep going, so cut them for us.
 

Butts

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I think there are a few others who ought to be ahead of your average union member in that particular queue.

If you are on minimum wage a train drivers salary is as inconceivable as that of a banker or footballer :roll:
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I have little experience of Unions, however when I worked in retail I found that older memebers of staff had some Substantially better terms in their contract (double time where I was on time and a half for example, and a few other things I cant quite remember) And it felt like my generation had been sold out as companies realised that after giving the 'baby boomers' good benefits, they couldn't afford to keep going, so cut them for us.

Yes, we should be levelling upwards not downwards :p
 

yorksrob

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If you are on minimum wage a train drivers salary is as inconceivable as that of a banker or footballer :roll:

I don't think so. forty grand (or whatever it is) does seem a pretty amazing wage when you're just making ends meet. But it's not inconceivable.
 

David

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I'm very much in favour of unions, as they help their members a lot. However ....

The militant nature of some unions (or people within them) does grate my nerves a bit, as the bad press it generates negates all the good they do for their members, most of which doesn't get mentioned very much, if at all.

As a "middle man" between management and the workers, they are very good at sorting out the little problems with very little fuss. They are also very good (especially in larger companies) in getting proposals from the managers to the workforce, getting the feedback and passing it back to the managers.

I can't say anything about most unions, but USDAW (who I have been a member of a couple of times now), and they (from my experience at least) usually tried everything to avoid industrial action, and strikes are very much a last resort for them. The only times I have seen ballot papers from them were mostly concerning wage proposals, with only 1 about industrial action. Even then, that was only work to rule or no action.

PS. There's an option missing from the poll .... "Good - but some unions need to tone it down" :P
 

313103

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Most people on here know where i stand so it would be futile to add the reason, just to say ask those who have used the union in getting there job back.

Suffice to say i voted the top option.
 

Clip

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Luxuries is too difficult to pin down as they're relative. Living in Birmingham I do not consider a car a luxury but someone in the countryside would.

I think you got that the wrong way round.

someone livein gin the countryside would see a car as a necessity and those in a city would say its a luxury given public transport availability.
 

Oswyntail

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Without unions there would be no NHS. Wages would be paid in kind, rather than cash. Very few people would own their own homes. Large chunks of Africa would still be white-ruled.

And that's assuming that unchecked capitalism hadn't unleashed a series of "limited" nuclear wars.

Mind you, Maggie Thatcher wouldn't have had a scholarship available to go to Oxford...
And we are all in LaLa land. What a daft post!

A Union as a collective representation of employees within an industry should be a good thing, but too many of the current lot seem to believe they are big players on the political scene. They have been allowed to be in the past (notably by Wilson, with disastrous consequences). They should not be allowed to influence government policy any more than "Big Business" should.
And, SS4 the problem with the Marxist model today is that there is no meaningful proletariat with most of the population as bourgeois as they come. The notion that there is still a clash of the orders is a romantic dream - or a dangerous distortion of society put about by factions that use it to justify unjustifiable actions.
 

Tomonthetrain

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I'm greatful to my union because without them I'd be out of a job 3 years ago, instead I'm still in a job!
 
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