Joining a trade union can be a really simple way of ensuring your interests and rights as an employee are met. Usually, unions have annual membership fees, which I know can put some people off; if you’re one of those people, I think it’s well worth taking another look at all the things joining a union can offer you. From financial benefits to better training, the advantages really are wide-ranging.
Individual unions do vary from one another, so it’s always important to look at exactly what those available to you offer. But, to give you a broad picture of what to expect, I’ve put together a list of what I think the top five benefits of joining one are, while you can find out a little more by visiting this website.
1) Better working conditions
One of the key advantages of being a union member is that they can help you achieve better working conditions. This can come in many forms, like improved health and safety, more appealing working hours or simply a more comfortable working environment.
I think working conditions are something that can really impact on your overall quality of life, no matter what sector you work in, so for me this is easily one of the most important benefits of joining a union.
2) New skills training
Learning new skills and consequently advancing our career is something most of us want to do – but sometimes, the opportunities just don’t seem to be there. A common problem is employers not offering new training courses, which is one of the things unions can combat. And more training does not only equal more opportunities for advancement within your chosen company or field, but also personal development and a greater sense of job satisfaction.
3) Advice and support
Another advantage of unions is that they can provide invaluable advice and support. This can be on anything from relatively minor employment issues to serious problems, such as legal disputes with your employer or disciplinary hearings. The union will be able to offer you sound advice to deal with these problems, as well as ensure you are accompanied to any meetings or hearings – something that can not only help reduce the overall stress of the situation and make sure you are fairly treated, but also save you money on legal advice.
4) Improved pay
I think it’s fair to say that wanting a better salary is a fairly universal experience. While joining a union doesn’t mean you’ll instantly draw a higher wage, it does mean that, should you and your colleagues believe your salaries are unfair or perhaps need to be more clearly structured or made transparent, your case can be skilfully argued for you. The full weight of a union can prove much more persuasive to employers than isolated individual voices.
5) Consumer benefits
As well as arguing for improved pay, unions can campaign for better employment benefits – things like more competitive pension schemes, for example, or even discounts on things like health insurance. I think it’s fair to say that these days most of us look carefully at what extra benefits employers have to offer, as well as salaries, so for me this advantage is a particularly appealing one.
Certain unions will give you the opportunity to join members’ clubs that offer a brilliant selection of consumer benefits. These could include money off holidays, discounts on things like wine and even lower cost insurance policies – all of which can have a positive impact on your finances. So, I think it’s always worth checking whether your union offers this kind of benefit.