I imagined I’d be championing workers’ rights.
But the reality is an ageing workforce – a scandalous waste of members’ fees and prickly colleagues.
A typical day consists of making a pot of coffee – answering emails from members – (im)politely declining telephone sales calls – answering ‘I’ve no idea’ when other staff ask me what they are meant to be doing and browsing the internet while I wait for my manager to give me some work to complete.
To say I’m under-used would be an understatement – this was written at my desk.
I will stay here for a long time though – because the benefits – as you would expect from a trade union – are incredible.
Short hours (and no one would dream of doing overtime) – ample holiday – a very good salary (especially considering the amount of work I have to do) – a great pension and being able to attend any training course I wish.
There are disadvantages to these perks though as nobody feels they can leave until they retire or are offered a fantastic redundancy package.
Even that doesn’t work sometimes – as people realise they are on to such a good thing that they refuse the redundancy offer and stay here to do little more than open the post for the rest of their working lives – while still picking up the same salary.
As a result we have an ageing workforce with no fresh ideas.
The activists are computer illiterate- preferring to print out emails instead of send them on electronically.
I was once scoffed at for suggesting that we try to have a paperless office instead of killing rainforests.
‘We have too many old members. They like to fill out forms’ I was told.
They are right.
We do have too many old members.
For all our talk about diversity – our membership – branches and committee are the definition of pale – male and stale.
It is rare to see a woman at any branch meeting or on any committee.
Or a young person or anyone from an ethnic minority for that matter.
The waste of our members’ subscription fees is scandalous.
The annual conference takes so much time to organise and costs a small fortune – all so a group of old, cantankerous men from the branches can spend a couple of nights away from home in a seaside town drinking copious amounts of free alcohol.
(ed:..i am sure this also rings many bells in more than a few of the unions in new zealand..eh..?..
like the swarm of p.r.-trouts/’comms-people’ that are currently infesting the auckland city council (133 at a recent count – i understand) – i have often wondered what those employed in those useless/do-nothing unions actually do all day…i’m sure it’s not very much..)
our low-wage economy couldn’t be a clearer indictment of how in the main the new zealand trade union movement are/have been/become..self-interest writ large useless-bastards-on-a-stick..eh..?..)