The power of mutiny: Why you should join a union to unf*ck work
Those who know me will tell you that I’m a confirmed Francophile. As well as speaking fluent French, I have a penchant (see?) for the cuisine and culture of our cousins across the channel. Having worked there for a number of years, the French pace of life and general outlook is, as far as I’m concerned, something to aspire to.
The French are famous for overthrowing the powers that be in a bid to elevate themselves out of unbearable living and working conditions. Even today, hundreds of years on from their guillotining past, they resist the tyranny of big corporations and band together to demand equitable conditions - in the form of unions and strikes.
Despite the notoriety of the French as a nation of unionised workers raging against the system, the French trade union movement is actually the weakest in Europe in membership terms, with only 11% of French employees in a trade union.
Sign reading: "On ne fait pas un monde différent avec l'différence" - roughly translates as: "We can't create a different world with indifference" in English.
UK workers fighting back
This surprising fact shows the immense power of unionisation as a way to unfuck work - hoisting a flag of resistance that can be seen far and wide. Here in the UK, we’re in a powerful position to do just that - with as many as 23% of UK workers being union members in recent years.
As the cost of living crisis impacts millions, workers in the UK are taking industrial action in droves. Ongoing high-profile rail strikes have caused disruption across the country, and holidays have been halted by walkouts of airline staff amid disputes around pay and working conditions.
Tensions are set to continue to rise. Barristers and Royal Mail staff have also announced plans to take industrial action in the coming weeks, with more action likely to happen - spurred on by the justified anger of unions at the refusal to support workers at a time of financial turmoil for many.
Why join a union?
The modern trade union dates back to the 1700s, but workers have in fact been unionising as far back as the Romans and Ancient Egyptians. For the UK, it is the collective power of workers that paved the way for huge changes such as a national minimum wage, the abolition of child labour, improved worker safety and laws on equality.
Today, unions uphold these workers’ rights, as well as supporting and representing members who are the victims of discrimination, harassment or bullying, and helping people to unfuck work from the inside by resisting toxic practices, untenable working conditions and unfair pay.
Joining a union is an absolute for people wanting to unfuck work for themselves and others. Being a member of a union gives you access to legal advice on employment issues, support through disciplinary hearings and representation at employment tribunals.
Any good pirate knows that an effective mutiny requires strength in numbers, so it makes sense that joining a union is the best way to create significant and lasting change in the workplace - unfucking things once and for all with your crewmates behind you.
For more information on the various unions for different sectors, go to https://www.tuc.org.uk/unions.