Why Independent Unions?

This piece was originally published in the latest print edition of Rebel City (page 9).

In the last few years there’s been an upsurge of independent trades unions such as the United Voices of the World, the Cleaners and Independent Workers Union, and the Industrial Workers of the World. These began among migrant workers and have spread to other zero-hours workers. The first question people might ask is – why are they not members of the big Trades Union Congress (TUC) unions?

Put simply, most TUC union officials see themselves as mediators between bosses and workers – not there to stand 100% with their members for what they want. At the extreme, threats of the State seizing Union assets for ‘illegal’ strikes directly threaten their gravy train. When they decided to expand their membership by recruiting precarious workers, they wanted to increase their income – not be forking out strike pay!…

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