Unite the Union

Unite the Union

May 06, 2007 19:00 ET

As unions become part of national GCSE Curriculum a new poll shows job anxieties and bullying amongst young workers

EMBARGOED UNTIL Midnight Sunday 6th MAY 2007 FAO: Newsdesks

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(CCNMatthews - May 07, 2007) -

Today's young workers feel insecure at work, with anxieties about their employment future, about finding good work close to home and about finding a job that will support family life, an ICM poll says.

Unite (Amicus section) aims to bring more young people into membership with a range of activities, including organising at summer festivals like Glastonbury and at student union events, in order to win them job security and better pay.

Unite's efforts to encourage youth membership may be helped by the inclusion of their recent campaign against Peugeot in the Business Studies GCSE curriculum.

Derek Simpson, joint general secretary of Unite said:

"Thirty years of weak employment laws and restricted trade unions have blighted the lives of a whole generation of working people. It's little wonder that young people are alienated from the political process in this country.

"Allowing our children to learn in school about the important role that unions can play in protecting their future employment is a great step forward, particularly since so many of their parents' generation were denied access to this kind of information under the Tories.

"Our advertising campaign against Peugeot last year heralded a new kind of union activity, backed by financial muscle, which shows young people just how far we can and will go to protect their employment rights".

A survey of 1,000 young workers aged 18-34, produced exclusively for Unite - the union by ICM Research, suggests that the world of work is failing younger workers, who are in danger of becoming `Generation Anxiety' as work-related worries and insecurity spread stress throughout their lives.

Launched last week, Unite - the union is the UK's largest trade union, embracing two million workers across the economy and set to focus on reaching out to and winning a better deal for new workers. The poll, a major examination of young workers' attitudes to and experiences of work conducted to mark the May Day launch of Unite has found that:

- More than half of young workers polled (51%) say employers can exploit younger workers;
- 34% say they are paid poorly for the job they do;
- 43% find it hard to find interesting well-paid work locally, increasing to 58% of under-24 year olds;
- 3 out of 10 young workers cannot expect an accurate payslip and 1 in 4 younger workers have experienced bullying at work;
- 17% of all young workers have worked in unsafe workplaces whilst 22% of all young workers polled had their wages docked when they were ill;
- 85% see work as a positive thing but 53% of 18-24 year olds fear that they cannot support a family with their job;
- 55% of 18-24 years old do not feel that there are plenty of good jobs for people starting out;
- Significant numbers of young workers are stretching their wages to meet costs of everyday living: 54% have credit card bills, 86% have mortgage or rent repayments, 1 in 5 have childcare to pay and 15% are repaying a student loan. 50% of 18-24 year old are working to pay for education;
- Young workers do much better if they are a member of a union, with 80% receiving a company pension, compared to just 45% of non-members, and 91% of union members receiving sick pay, compared to 71% of non-members.

Unite is campaigning for an end to the McJobs typified by low wages, low opportunity and casualisation and instead provide secure and interesting work for those entering the labour market. The union is also calling for the removal of the lower rates of pay under the National Minimum Wage for workers under 22, which causes confusion, poverty and exploitation.

Organising new workers into Unite, particularly targeting sectors with younger workers, is a key priority for the new union. With just 1 in 4 saying they are a member of a union, the task for Unite is to take trade unionism to a new generation of workers desperately in need of union support.


Notes to editors:

- Unite logo images are available to the media by emailing media@tgwu.org.uk;
- ICM Research interviewed a representative sample of 18 - 34 year old workers by telephone from the 13th -18th April 2007. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.
- There will be a period of transition during which the Joint Executive Council, drawn equally from the T&G and Amicus executives, will supervise the drawing up of a final rule book for the new union. This will come into effect in November 2008, when the integration of the two unions into one should be complete.
- The average pay of 18-24's according to the poll is Pounds Sterling 7.83ph. The average pay of 25-34 year old is Pounds Sterling 9.23.The national minimum wage for over 21s is Pounds Sterling 5.35, but is Pounds Sterling 4.45 for 18-21 year olds and Pounds Sterling 3.30 for 16 and 17 year olds.
- Amicus' hard-hitting campaign against Peugeot in 2006 ensured that there was a billboard advertisement within 1000 yards of every Peugeot dealership in the country and protests outside every dealership.
- Unite will take its campaign for rights for young workers to Glastonbury to ask those who count what they want the Government and trade unions to do for them. Derek Simpson will take to the stage at Glastonbury's leftfield to speak out against racism in the workplace and society.

Contact Information

  • Unite (Amicus section)
    Press Office
    07768 931 320 or 07747 480 510