Form a Union in Your Precarious Workplace | Better Than ZeroOn March 7, 2020 by Raul Dinwiddie
It feels different when you go into an organised
workplace. As a precarious worker I feel guilty.
I feel guilty every time I need to ask for time off.
I feel guilty when I’m at uni and I can’t cover a shift.
And I feel guilty when I’m sick. I feel that I owe my boss something when in
reality I don’t. You don’t know when you’re working next,
you don’t know your monthly or weekly wage, and you feel like you have to take every shift. When workers come together from a place of
care for each other then they can really understand where everybody’s at,
and they can understand that everybody is in the same situation. And that poses a real threat to the employer
because when everybody’s coming at it from a collective basis of care then we’re
more unified. In hospitality we’re already tightly organised
as a team. Obviously we have to work to our bosses’ goals, which are profit margins and
things. If you had an organised workplace it reduces
the stress on everybody and we can pursue our own goals. In an organised workplace you have a robust
network of relationships with your fellow employees that isn’t mediated by the employer and in this manner you’re able to form power
coming from beneath rather than having to rely on power from above. At the moment precarious workers when walking
into their workplaces feel a sense of dread and unease just stepping
foot in the building. My hope is with an organised workforce that
this feeling of dread will be replaced by one of courage. Organising in precarious workplaces is different
from organising within traditionally organised workplaces. This is why it’s important for precarious
workers to pay attention to the tactics and tools which they use to effectively
win workers powers. In ten years’ time I’d hope for trade unionism
across Scotland to be less divided so that workers across different sectors come
together forming a network. We need to get away from there being repercussions
for young people joining unions and feeling like they can’t join unions for
fear of being punished in their work which adds to precarity. I think we need a strategy that is not just
a young persons strategy but puts precarious work at the heart of what trade
unions are doing in their industrial strategy. I hope that in ten years, trade unionism in
Scotland will look like workers in more secure jobs supporting precarious
workers and showing solidarity and that.