Is union membership still a relevant option for today’s modern worker?
Yes, says Stanford Mazhindu, spokesperson of the trade union UASA, unions are more important than ever. In today’s global economy there are still employers resisting unions but fortunately also those who prefer to ensure fairness and equitable treatment for workers. Employers also realise that offering workers better wages and benefits leads to a happier and more efficient workforce.
For many years South African trade unions fought for worker’s rights within the workplace but also beyond. Initially trade unions were friendly societies that assisted their members with various matters, including financial help for education purposes and when a member was ill.
“Joining a trade union means you become part of an organised group that stands together in terms of workplace issues. A union offers the services of skilled negotiators and labour specialists who will work on your behalf to, for instance, secure salary increases, fair treatment, a safe working environment, increased job security, assist you at disciplinary hearings and represent you at disputes with your employer.” It means that you don’t stand alone when facing difficult and complicated labour matters.
2020 alone proved to be a difficult economic year as many business were severely affected by the new normal as a result of Covid-19 that most of us were not prepared for. We saw unions stepping in to negotiate proper conditions for their members in different workplaces in terms of unreasonable salary or wage cuts proposed by companies and work conditions due to Covid-19 regulations.
As we step in to 2021, things will be no different and it is time for all workers to adjust and prepare themselves for new work conditions and regulations as proposed by organisations they work for. This is why joining a union in 2021 still a clever choice, a union will step in, negotiate and hold organisations accountable on your behalf and co-workers in terms of any misunderstandings, unfair labour practices or unlawful work conditions put in place by an organisation.
Unions strive for good work environments across the South African labour sphere and they remain a strong force that fights for justice in workplaces. Mazhindu says unions also often offer training and networking events to members’ benefit.
UASA continue to encourage workers to join trusted unions that will fight for workers rights, better labour laws that advocates for equality and fairness in the workplace.
For further enquiries or to set up a personal interview,
contact Stan Mazhindu at 074 978 3415.