Inter-Continental Union Merger Talks In Progress

Amicus, the UK’s largest manufacturing union, is holding talks with United Steelworkers in what could lead to the formation of one of the biggest unions in the world. If the deal goes through, the combined union will have over 3 million members.

The BBC covered this news and I quote an excerpt of the article:

The BBC’s Stephen Cape said it was the first time such an international merger has been mooted.


He said it was a reflection of the changing world, where union influence was in decline yet there was a growing need to fight global companies.

Although there are different labour laws in other countries, a super union could put pressure on companies and their managers, he added.

Personally, I’m not fond of the concept of trade unions. I believe that workers will have more negotiation power on a one-to-one basis with management as the value of the individual would be reflected more fairly. Although I must state that for the average to low performing workers, being in a union might be a good way to save their collective arses.

2 responses to “Inter-Continental Union Merger Talks In Progress”.

  1. papajoneh Says:

    wow long holiday my friend. no comment on this matter.;)

  2. Dabido Says:

    Actually, since they got rid of compulsory Unionism and the minimum wage in the Australian work place they’ve discoverd that the average worker is earning a lot less. Negotiating on ones own leads to wages falling [after all, you no longer have any idea of the going market rate for your work – something they reported inthe news tonight, as the Government here is refusing to release what people should be earning.]

    One place I worked never gave me a pay rise for the 3.5 years I worked there in spite of the fact that they admitted I saved the company. [It’s true, the company would not exist today If I hadn’t of saved it in 1992]. So, it doesn’t matter how well you perform, a company that isn’t going to give you a pay rise will always find some excuse to not give you one.

    At least with Unions the workers do have some muscle to get good working conditions etc. [After all, a lot of the Occupational Health and Safety laws have only come about BECAUSE of the unions flexing their muscle].

    If one person doesn’t get treated right by their company and walks the company just hires another desperate worker, whilst if the entire work force at the company walks out the company has to negotiate.

    After saying that, there is a need for balance. In Australia there is a lot of complaint because the companies now have too much power and can sack people without a reason and stuff. Other peopel got sacked and offered their jobs back at 1/3 the wage they were earning [because they removed the minimum wage here].

    I’m working for a measely AUD$19,100 a year at present, and they tell me I’m better than the guy doing the same job at another site who is earning well over AUD$50,000. [Plus, I am in the process of applying for my position again … ] Beleive me, my boss sings my praises and even the State Office raves about how good I am … so if they really gave people pay according to effort, then there wouldn’t be such an imbalance in wages.

    Another thing which has been shown to have happened recently is the RICH [a lot of who don’t work that hard at all], have got richer, whilst the lowest income earners in our country have gotten poorer. The gap is getting LARGER, all thanks to what the RICH claim is a ‘trickle down effect’, where they claim if we make the rich richer, then the profits will trickle down to the poor … only, in spite of a LOT of critism that it DOESN’T work by academics, the RICH of this country still used it as an excuse to give themselves tax cuts etc. And, the poor have gotten poorer, the middle class copped it even worse than the poor and the rich are even more rich.

    Admittedly not all of that was because of the laws to weaken Unions. [Oh, there are laws to stop them striking as well … which weakened Unions more in this country] … but, the common problem is that the balance of power has made Employers too strong and the workers too weak in what they can and can’t negotiate. As such, individual negotiating has resulted in people also losing holiday rates [ie they can get told to work public holidays etc with no compensation], and even the loss of a lot of other things which used to be a workers right. [Like taking sick days etc].

    Admittedly a lot of that also depends on who you work for. [Not everyone is being killed by their employers], but there are a LOT of bad employers out there taking advantage of the work laws here [and in fact the news tonight is saying how the work laws are actually hurting the Employers in the long run and it’s killing workers moral and productivity].

    Proven fact – happy workers are better workers. Bad work laws, removal of minimum wage and loss of workers rights = unhappy workers. All those workers rights got eroded because of the laws used to weaken Unions.

    So, like I said, there is a need for balanced laws. Unions should be able to negotiate for all workers, not just for their ages [nothing stops employers from rewarding their workers with HIGHER wages than their co-worker if they want]. Unions don’t just negotiate wages, they also negotiate work conditions and other things. [Something which has lately been removed from Australian workers due to the work laws].

    In fact, some work places now refuse to employ anyone who is a Union member, which is completely unfair as it FORCES people into one on one negotiations even if you don’t want it.

    At the other extreme, [and the possible reason you don’t like Unions], is some become too strong and force unrealistic conditions on the employers. I know one Australian Union which had their employer build them a PUB and other things for them. A PUB!!!! When I pointed out to one of the Union Reps that it was unfair as other people don’t get a PUB built by their companies, [In fact, I think it is stupid that the company didnt’ have some sort of way around it], he just told me that we should all join Unions. Those sorts of things are what gives Unions a bad name, as the workers [especially in that Union] end up over paid and become lazy and are guaranteed job security even if they don’t do any work.

    I guess it’s like most things. Too much to either extreme and you get a tyrant dictating to the other party what will happen.

    Unions only came about as there was no responsibility on employers to guarantee a safe work place or even to treat workers like human beings. Unions have actually done a lot for us that we probably don’t even realise [like Occupational Health and Safety laws to keep most people from getting killed].
    My boss has some intersting stories [and he’s only 50] abootu when he was an apprentice and he had to risk life and limb for his boss, and was under contract as an apprentice. [Imagine painting a sign three stories up over a busy highway without a safety rope or harness of any kind and only standing on a wooden board with about one inch either end attached to a scaffold, and the wooden board is BENDING under your weight. That’s the sort of things which used to happen … and as my boss said, many people did die under those conditions].

    Sorry for the long comment. šŸ™‚