From the TUC

Be proud to be union: Proclaim the union advantage

05 Sep 2014, By

As the trade union movement prepares to gather in Liverpool this weekend for the 146th Annual Trades Union Congress, the TUC is launching a new publication that demonstrates the positive impact of trade unions in workplaces and on society in general.

The Union Advantage sets out the positive benefits that unions bring to workers, the organisations that employ them and the community beyond the workplace.

The collective strength of unions means that union members are on average, better paid, have better pensions, more holidays and more flexible working hours than non-union members.  Between 2012 and 2013 unions won increases in hourly earnings for members in both the public and private sectors whilst, on average, pay for non-members in the private sector stagnated.  Union members also get more paid time off, enjoying almost 4 days a year more paid holidays a year than non-members.

For young workers in particular, there is a significant advantage to being in a union when it comes to issues such as pay and training.  Workers aged between 16 and 24 earn a massive 33% more than their non-union counterparts.  Unions, mainly through the work of Union Learning reps, also ensure that young trade union members get access to quality training and career development opportunities.

Unions are at the forefront of the campaign for equality at work and society in general.  We have a proven record of fighting discrimination in all its forms.  We have led the way in persuading employers to adopt formal equal opportunities policies.  We have a growing army of Equality Reps and people in workplaces where there is a union are much more likely to have a better work life balance and less likely to face discrimination.

Unions make workplaces safer too. We train 10,000 health and safety reps every year and have a record of reducing workplace accidents and work related ill health that is second to none. Union workplaces are safer and healthier for all who work there.

Our 150,000 union reps, as well as helping their members individually and collectively also bring huge benefits for the organisations they work for. They improve consultation mechanisms, help members get new skills, save employers recruitment costs and provide a way of ensuring that disciplinary and grievance procedures are resolved without the need for legal action.

And of course the work we do isn’t restricted to the factory floor or the office. Unions have been at the forefront of campaigns against austerity, attacks on the most vulnerable in our society and in defence of vital public services including the NHS and our railways.

The Union Advantage makes the case for strong and effective trade unions; collective representation, pressure and action. All of which add up to a powerful voice for workers and society as a whole.