GMB Union North West & Irish region J05 Branch Secretary Tim Collins discuss the importance of being a unionised workforce and having the confidence to take industrial action.
Union branch growth and organisation
It is paramount for workplaces that are not unionised to be become unionised, especially in order to responded to changes throughout the world of work both nationally and internationally. The employer Pladis has been derecognising agreements between themselves and GMB Union. After a long hard battle, Tim and his colleagues realised the three key ingredients to resolving their grievances was to better the branch, reposition themselves and organise.
Unity within J05 membership
The company recognised there was solidarity amongst the 700 union members on site, whereas previously they were able to divide and conquer those who raised genuine concerns over pay, terms and conditions.
Development and training on-site for union reps
Going forward, Tim has organised training for the 18 union reps on site at Jacobs, to better prepare them for the inevitable challenges ahead.
Education and training through the GMB union gives skills to new reps making it possible for them to grow the union within their workplace. GMB Union can facilitate organisation and get messages out there through its news outlets and social media platforms, which in turn puts pressure on employers to act in the interest of its workers.
GMB Union is an inclusive organisation, able to support reps who have barriers in the way of their professional development. Speaking personally, Tim mentioned how it was daunting becoming a workplace rep given that he has a speech impediment. However, GMB Union were supportive and gave Tim confidence and agency.
Respect from the employer
Union reps and members are eager to restore confidence and integrity between themselves and the employer, however Pladis must show respect and dignity in return.
Whilst on strike, union members were able to share their stories with one another, realising they had more in common than they initially thought. This has brought members and GMB Union reps closer together, creating a sense of family within the workplace.
Benefits of joining the GMB Union
Pladis has learned that J05 branch members are prepared to organise themselves, with the support of the GMB Union, when treated unfairly. A unionised workforce has a voice and must be consulted before any changes are made to their pay, terms, conditions, health & safety etc.
Tim and his team at Jacobs are doing a fantastic job, they are a shining example of what GMB Union membership can do!
Written by Shaun Nash, Campaigns & Communications