It is always worthwhile joining a trade union and its associated unemployment fund. The union is a powerful partner that defends your interests in the world of work by negotiating minimum employment terms and providing professional legal aid, expert advice and training opportunities.
Photo: Sigrid Gombert / Gorilla
Union members also save money on insurance and holidays, and they qualify for a wide range of other benefits.
The union also operates a specialised unemployment fund for employees in your industry.
The top 5 reasons for joining
Pay and other terms of employment. The union negotiates pay and other terms of employment on your behalf. The resulting collective agreement for each industry sets out the minimum pay rates for the work that you do. This agreement also governs hours of work, sick pay, bonuses for overtime and shift work, and holiday entitlement.
Employee representatives. The employees at a workplace elect a representative or shop steward to bargain with the employer and to serve as a channel of communication between the employees and the employer. The shop steward represents the employees in any dispute arising between the employer and the workforce.
Unemployment benefit. The members of a trade union usually also belong to its unemployment fund, which pays earnings-related benefit to members who are out of work. This benefit is not means-tested (e.g. the income of your spouse is not considered), and is substantially higher than the basic rate of unemployment benefit.
Advice, training and social involvement. Trade unions provide broad assistance in meeting the challenges of working life, ranging from legal aid to courses in foreign languages and information technology. You may find further details of these services on your union website or in its newsletter. Your union also provides various ways for you to get involved in social policymaking processes.
Other benefits. As large organisations of people in similar circumstances, trade unions are also able to negotiate and provide many other benefits for their members. Unions often offer reasonably priced holiday accommodation and other leisure benefits such as discounts on hotel room rates and cruises. Many unions have also negotiated member discounts on fuel prices, travel and other insurance, and retail banking services.
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