Why I became a trade unionist

I originally joined a trade union because it is something that I was always told to do by my grandparents when I started working; so you could say it was sorta ingrained into me! My nan was a union representative for USDAW and she used to tell me about all the different issues she had to tackle in the world of work, representing members etc. and I thought ‘Oh surely that didn’t happen?! It’s not that bad!’

And then when I started working, I noticed that no matter what industry I worked in there was always something that didn’t feel quite right when they asked me to do extra things, or work ridiculous amount of hours (sometimes reaching into the high 90s!) I literally had no social life! And that for an 18 year old is such an awful feeling; that you can’t spend time with your friends and family because you feel like you have to work or jeopardise your job. THAT IS NOT THE CASE!

When I started working for the company I’m at now, I saw that there was a union office on site. Now that, in my previous jobs, was never an option for me – to just be able to drop in if I needed help or to question something.  I chose to get active in the union because of previous incidences of injustices that I have had to deal with. I didn’t want to have that happen to me again!

Being active in the union has opened my eyes to some of the injustices that are still present in the world of work and sometimes it feels like we’ve not progressed in some of the areas of work that I deal with since the time when my nan was a rep! So it’s vitally important that we get young workers involved in the union ; if we don’t have a succession plan in place for the people fighting for workers rights… what are we gonna have when they retire? I don’t want to jump back into the old days where bosses and companies exploit workers to get their own way. I’m not saying that every company is bad but if you were to work yourself to death, they’d have someone else in your seat within a week! Young Workers are the future of the world. We can change the way of the world;  set out new ways of working; set new rules and regulations to help workers; to help families who are suffering due to low wages and benefits. So if it’s something you thought of but haven’t done yet, join your union! Get active and help us change things.


🎙️ The CWU has entered the podcasting world  – Listen to Episode 1 of TheUWord now – featuring Dave Ward, John McDonnell, Angela Rayner, Dennis Skinner and Lauren Townsend speaking on the relevance of trade unions today.  There are also contributions from many of our young workers discussing why its important to join a union.  Click the box below: