Trade Unions

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Unions are only as good as the strength and unity of their members: Union members are actually the Union. Most of the problems that now exist for workers and the economy are the result of those self-same members deciding to listen to the arguments from employers and their cronies in the CBI, and the govts - including the so-called "Labour" govt run by people like Blair.

You need to think through the consequences of whatever decision you make. By not joining a Union, you will be allowing yourself to be manipulated by govts and employers, as is now the case. This is due to the crippling "Anti-Union" legislation introduced by a certain woman and her sociopathic destructive govt.
By joining a Union you strengthen it, and the more members that join, the more it demonstrates to govts and employers that there is a united workforce which will most certainly become a threat to the status quo - but only if you stand strong together.

They don't like it, but why should you care? What have you got to lose that you had before you joined? Your job? Financial security? Take a look around you. Never forget that the people, and only the people, of a nation are its power and its strength.

The problem won't be fixed by continuing to have weak unions made up of a rank and file that's been indioctrinated into thinking that being 'militant' is a bad thing, and who therefore aren't up for a fight with employers and the govt. It doesn't matter whether a govt calls itself Socialist or Tory - there have been plenty of so-called militant workforces over the years who wouldn't regard themselves as Socialists and who have had to fight against both Tory and so-called Labour economic policies which favour the employers in the course of industrial disputes. ref (abridged)

List of Trade Unions

Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen

ASLEF is the trade union for train drivers, founded in Feb.1880. Its 20,000 members are employed in train operating companies, freight companies, the London Underground, and some Light Rapid Transport.

Bakers, Food and Allied Workers' Union

BFAWU is the only independent trade union operating within the food industry ...

See main article: Bakers, Food and Allied Workers' Union

Communication Workers Union

The CWU is the main trade union for people working for telephone, cable, DSL and postal delivery companies.
The CWU was formed in 1995 by the merger of the Union of Communication Workers and National Communications Union. CWU members work for Royal Mail, the Post Office, BT, O2, cable TV, Accenture HR Services, Orange, Virgin Media and other communication companies. Members' expertise includes engineering, computing, clerical, mechanical, driving, retail, financial and manual skills.

General Federation of Trade Unions

The GFTU is a national trade union centre. It has 35 affiliates with a membership of 214,000+, and describes itself as the "federation for specialist unions".
The GFTU services the needs of specialist unions by providing courses, undertaking research for its affiliated Unions and administering a Pension Scheme for officials and staff of affiliated Unions. The Federation pays dispute benefit in appropriate cases to affiliated Unions.

General Municipal Boilermakers

The GMB is a general trade union, and has 631,000+ members. GMB members work in nearly all industrial sectors, in retail, security, schools, distribution and the utilities, social care, the NHS and ambulance service and local govt.
The GMB proudly proclaims that it lobbied long and hard in favour of Hinkley Point C, and blathers on about "keeping the lights on" and "badly-needed nuclear power stations". It makes much of "low wind days", using these as an argument to further pollute our planet with nuclear waste. ref

Immigration Service Union

The ISU, formally the Union for Borders, Immigration and Customs, were formed in 1981 as a breakaway from the Society of Civil and Public Servants, a civil service Union affiliated to the TUC. "Our people paid subscriptions but received nothing in return; the union passed motions depoloring the very existence of border controls. We needed representation that respected the jobs we did and the people who did them. And so the ISU was born."ref

Independent Workers Union of Great Britain

Independent Worker's Union of Great BritainWikipedia-W.svg

The IWGB is a fully independent trade union[1]. Their members are predominantly low-paid migrant workers in London. The IWGB comprises several semi-autonomous branches which organise workers within their chosen industry, run their own campaigns and have their own representative officials. The IWGB began as a breakaway from Unite and Unison; the dispute stemmed from disagreements over how to get better working conditions for cleaners at the University of London, and, more broadly, about how to run modern trade unions. The IWGB is one of the main trade unions in challenging employment law relating to the 'gig economy'. (WP)

National Union of Mineworkers

The NUM is a trade union for coal miners in Great Britain, formed in 1945 from the Miners' Federation of Great Britain. After the 1984–85 strike and the subsequent closure of most of Britain's coal mines, it became a much smaller union. It had around 170,000 members when Arthur Scargill became leader in 1981, a figure which had fallen in 2015 to an active membership of around 100. (WP)

National Union of Teachers

The NUT was a trade union for school teachers in England, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. NUT only recruited qualified teachers and those training to be qualified teachers into membership, and on dissolution had almost 400,000 members, making it the largest teachers' union in the United Kingdom.
In Mar.2017, NUT members voted for a merger with the Association of Teachers and Lecturers to form a new union known as the National Education Union, which came into existence in Sept.2017.

National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers

The RMT covers the transport sector. It is widely regarded as one of the more radical trade unions in Great Britain able to organise massive industrial action within the transport industry, especially in the railway sector.

See main article: National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers

Public and Commercial Services Union

The PCS is organised throughout the Civil Service and govt agencies, making it the UK's largest civil service trade union. The union also organises widely in the private sector, usually in areas that have been privatised.

See main article: Public and Commercial Services Union

Transport Salaried Staffs' Association

TSSA is a trade union for workers in the transport and travel industries in the United Kingdom and Ireland, with around 22,300 members. While principally a union for people in the railway industry, the effect of the nationalisation and subsequent privatisations following the Second World War has meant that it has members working for railway companies, shipping companies, bus companies, travel agencies, airlines, call centres, and IT companies.


UNISON is the largest trade union in the UK, with ~1.4m members. Members are typically from industries within the public sector and generally cover both full-time and part-time support and administrative staff. The majority of people joining UNISON are workers within sectors such as local govt, education, the National Health Service Registered Nurses, NHS Managers and Clinical Support Workers. The union also admits ancillary staff such as Health Care Assistants and Assistant Practitioners, including Allied Health Professionals. Probation services, police services, utilities (such as gas, electricity and water), and transport. These 'Service Groups' all have their own national and regional democratic structures within UNISON's constitution. (WP)

Unite the Union

  • Unite the UnionWikipedia-W.svg,
  • 2012–: Nicholls was elected as the Federation's General Secretary
  • 2007: The TGWU merged with Amicus to form #Unite the Union; Nicholls served as National Secretary until 2011.
  • 2007–2009: Nicholls served as Chair of the General Federation of Trade Unions
  • Jan.2007: Nicholls took the CYWU into a merger with the Transport & General Workers Union (TGWU).
  • 1987: Elected as general secretary of the CYWU.
  • 1975: Doug Nicholls joined the Community & Youth Workers' Union (CYWU)
See main article: Unite the Union

University and College Union

The UCU was formed by the merger of the Association of University Teachers and the University and College Lecturer's Union in Jun.2006.ref.
The UCU represents over 120,000 academics, lecturers, trainers, instructors, researchers, managers, administrators, computer staff, librarians and postgraduates in universities, colleges, prisons, adult education and training organisations across the UK. It represents casualised researchers and teaching staff as well as "permanent" lecturers. Definitions of all these categories are currently rather ambiguous due to recent changes in fixed term and open-ended contract law. In many universities, casualised academics form the largest category of staff and UCU members.

See main article: University and College Union

Briefings & Articles

  • Dec.18.2018: Google’s activists show how trade unions must adapt to modern world. Govt's "Good Work" reforms... questions about the role of trade unions... Unions were behind prominent court cases on the status of Uber and Hermes drivers. Unions need to move on from the Labour Party’s throwback socialist principles, so at odds with a modern economy in which people want the flexibility that zero-hour contracts and gig employment offer. Too often they are dinosaurs, out of touch with rebels like those atGoogle and Amazon. Yet a failure to reinvent themselves will be a tragedy for the new “precariat” in insecure jobs. Unions can demonstrate that membership delivers a 10% pay premium. The young and low-paid could do with that. Philip Aldrick, The Times.

  • Dec.08.2018: Virgin Atlantic pilots to strike in run-up to Christmas Day. Pilots at Virgin Atlantic are to strike from Dec.22 to Christmas Day in a dispute over union recognition. The Professional Pilots Union (PPU) said its members voted by a ratio of more than seven to one in favour of industrial action. The PPU, which represents about a third of Virgin’s pilots, has been involved in a long-running dispute over recognition. “Virgin Atlantic have consistently refused to recognise the PPU as a legitimate and independent union, essentially disenfranchising our members,” spokesman Steve Johnson said. “Despite the rhetoric that consultations are inclusive of all staff and unions, in practice this doesn’t happen." The Guardian.
  • The need to Democratise the Trade Unions. It has become clear, that in the eighteen months or so, since Jeremy Corbyn first announced he was seeking nominations to stand in the first labour party leadership election, that barely elected and unelected trade union bureaucrats have conspired to undermine thwart and unseat him... Steve McKenzie, Keith Henderson, Labour Representation Committee. Accessed Oct.10.2018.
  • Sources of Labour Union Power. This paper looks at the sources of union power in a world of neo-liberal globalisation, and puts forward some ideas for discussion about the potential for using that power. Professor Gregor Gall, University of Hertfordshire, Labour Representation Committee. Accessed Oct.06.2018.
  • Oct.04.2018: Young people are rewiring capitalism with their McStrike. A precarious and exploited workforce has had enough: young employees are joining unions and demanding to be heard. This week, retail and hospitality workers at JD Wetherspoon, McDonald's, Uber Eats and TGI Fridays will march out together in a coordinated strike. It is a battle that may determine the future of an increasingly precarious and exploited workforce. Britain’s unions were broken and battered by Thatcherism and never recovered. While more than half of workers were union members in 1979, today the figure is less than a quarter. It is the younger workers who are least likely to be unionised: a mere 8% of workers under 25 are members. The lack of any organised counterweight to the power of bosses has left many employees lacking security, ill treated at work, and paid derisory wages. Indeed, while Britain’s workers suffered the worst squeeze in wages of any industrialised nation other than Greece, the fall has been felt sharpest by the youngest: for workers aged 18 to 21, real weekly wages collapsed by 16% in the years after the crash. Owen Jones, The Guardian.