Work is changing. Zero hours contracts, low wages and automation are threats to job security in Scotland and across the developed world. Nonetheless, work remains very much part of the tapestry of our lives. Today, more people toil in Glasgow’s call centres than ever did in our busiest shipyards.
That’s why it’s still vital for working people to organise in a trade union. Indeed, in today’s climate, it’s more important than ever that we fight for democratic control of our workplaces.
Recently, women employed by Glasgow City Council have been campaigning in huge numbers for equal pay. Growing numbers of teenagers and millennials in bars, hotels and restaurants are joining unions. In Scotland’s public sector, trade union members have persuaded politicians to end the cap on wages. Workers at BiFab “worked-in” to save their jobs. University staff have taken strike action to defend their pensions.
All of this proves that when working people take action and stand together, they can win better wages and working conditions.
Some people might see trade unions as big and faceless organisations. But this year’s STUC was all about moving in a new direction. There’s no point in trade union officials simply lobbying for piecemeal reforms. True power really lies in the workplace, not with smooth-talking negotiators or progressive politicians. If working people want to be heard, then we need to stand together and shout.
If you’ve ever felt powerless, alone or isolated at work, there is a solution. Join up with your colleagues in a union and fight for the changes you want to see at work, no matter what your job is. There’s no need to accept low wages, bullying or harassment.
This article first appeared in the Daily Record