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“Our union. Our voice.” Young workers tell it like it is.
Young Workers Month 2016 runs throughout November.
Workers under the age of 30 are disproportionately affected by poor pay and conditions in the modern workplace. But help is at hand. Dean, Daisy and Nikita told us how union membership has benefitted their working lives and helped them fight for what they deserve.
Dean, shopworker, 23, Usdaw member
“I joined because young people like me were being treated unfairly at work. We were getting paid less for doing the same work as everyone else and that just wasn’t right. It was really hard to know what to do but then my union got involved and now we all get paid the same. I didn't know much about unions before I joined one. But now I've really seen the difference it can make to people like me. It may seem strange but being part of a union is like being part of a big family, with so much support when you need it.”
Young people who are members of a union earn 33% more on average than those who aren’t.
Daisy, cinema worker, 22, BECTU member
"Joining the union has made me realise that you don't have to accept a bad deal at work. You don't have to work until 4am on minimum wage. If you struggle with low pay, or you get a bad deal at work, or you believe people in your position deserve better, then you can join a union and stand up and fight for what you believe in. Being part of a union allows me to feel like I’m not a small fish in a big pond. It allows me to have more control and power over my life and my job, and not feel like I’m being taken advantage of – which is very important to me.
Unions have led the fight for a living wage and campaigned against abuse of zero-hours contracts.
Nikita, apprentice mechanic, 19, Unite member
“To be honest, I joined the union because everyone at work was nagging me. But I thought 'maybe there is something in it', and there was. You hear about some apprenticeships not leading anywhere. My union made sure that we have a quality apprenticeship with a real career prospect. I feel valued at work, I earn good money, I get the necessary training and, thanks to my union, I could potentially have a permanent contract.”
Unions have helped create over 12,000 apprentice opportunities with support from the Union Learning Fund.