Giving workers the power: 3 reasons why unions are still relevant

With stories of unexpected layoffs, stagnant wages and unfair working conditions in our world today, the ever-changing nature of work can be unsettling to many. Especially with the rise of new working arrangements due to the pandemic, some employers have tried to shortchange their employees by not giving them the full list of benefits that they are entitled to. This is why the fair treatment of workers is more important than ever. No one wants to be exploited or feel insecure about their rice bowl. So, what can a worker do to protect themselves from such distress? This is where unions come in!

Trade unions were first created to help workers combat work-related difficulties, which include issues like low pay, unsafe working environments and excruciatingly long hours.

Today, unions still serve the same purpose they were created for, even though some issues have evolved. Now, workers still band together to negotiate fair pay and working conditions with employers. They seek to protect the rights of workers and help them feel stable in the workplace.

Hence, though unions have existed since in the nineteenth century, they aren’t out-of-date! They are still very much relevant today and here’s why:

Unions advance the interests of workers

As they say, there’s strength in numbers! By standing together in solidarity on various issues, workers in the union have the ability to speak from a position of strength with employers. This collective bargaining allows them to have greater leverage on pushing through with their recommendations.

In other words, this translates to higher chances of workers getting better wages and benefits!

Provide workers with a support system

When you join a union, you become a part of something bigger! Not only do you have support when you raise your dissatisfactions and frustrations, but unions also contain a wide pool of resources – be it in terms of manpower, initiatives or connections.

For example, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), a national confederation of trade unions as well as a network of professional associations and partners across all sectors in Singapore aim to help workers stay competitive and remain employable for as long as they wish to.

Unions stand up for inequalities

Everyone deserves equal opportunities! With important issues like gender pay gap, maternity and paternity leave, workplace harassment or even working conditions during a pandemic, unions can use their power to help secure better terms and conditions for these groups of people.

By raising their concerns as one body, they help to shine light on the severity of these situations and put the necessary pressure on policy makers to make real changes for the benefit of workers.

All in all, it’s apparent that unions have done a lot to give workers a platform to speak on issues that they couldn’t probably tackle on their own – and they will continue to fight for what’s best for them in the coming ages! If you are interested in sharing in these benefits, find out more about joining a union here.