Union membership is the closest thing you can get to employment insurance.

Excuses and Replies

"I can't afford the subscriptions"

Union membership is the closest thing you can get to employment insurance and subscriptions are graded according to salary. 

Using FDA membership services, or getting advice from our solicitors can also cover costs.

"I don't believe in trade unions"

Why not? The majority of your colleagues of all political persuasions are members. They recognise they are best served in an organisation that will protect their interests. If your objection is political, we don't pay money to any political parties. If you are unhappy about some aspect of what we do, join and change it. We are a democratic organisation, run by and for our members.

"I get the benefits anyway"

No you don't. You may currently enjoy union-negotiated terms and conditions, but you have no say in the process. You are also unprotected if you have a problem at work, or an accident. (No-one ever thinks they are going to have an accident, but nevertheless thousands of people have them).

If you do recognise there are benefits, why not join? Staying outside the FDA is not a neutral action - you make us less representative and you help undermine our ability to secure improvements for everyone in your department.

"The union doesn't do anything"

Not true. We negotiate with employers on every aspect of what happens in your workplace, from local health and safety issues right through to the very future of your department. This is the everyday reality of the FDA's work. It may not be highly visible, but it is effective.

Terms and conditions in departments are generally good, and that is largely due to the work done by the FDA. If you are unhappy about certain changes, please remember that it is your employer, not the FDA, who is responsible for driving this. In the end our ability to stop or influence matters depends on what our members are prepared to do.

"I had a problem years ago and the union didn't want to know"

If that's the case, we're sorry, but that's not the way we operate now.

The FDA deals with thousands of individual cases per year, with a very high success rate. Personal representation is something we do very well.

If you resigned over this, your protest has been registered and we would like you to come back. Give us another chance to represent you, or better still get involved locally, to ensure we do things the right way.

"My manager/management doesn't like trade unions"

Your department is committed to good industrial relations. We have signed an agreement with it to that effect, and your management actually encourages you to be in the FDA.

In today's climate it may be one individual's prejudice or someone abusing their position. If you want us to, we will deal with this. The majority of your colleagues are members, and it hasn't done them any harm. You have a right to join the FDA.

"You are always causing trouble/going on strike"

This is simply untrue. The FDA policy and practice is to seek constructive partnership and dialogue with employers. We have been largely successful in doing that.

We exist to ensure that your employer listens to staff who actually work in your department. The FDA makes no apology for speaking up for its members; this is our role and main function. Important decisions are always taken democratically, so being an FDA member means you can influence and shape policy, rather than watch it from the sidelines.

"The subscriptions are too high"

Subscriptions usually rise in line with inflation. Every penny is shown in our annual financial statement and every member has access to this on the FDA website. Expenditure is controlled by an elected Executive Committee and by the union's Annual Delegate Conference.

"Management here looks after us and treats us well"

This may be true, but much of this is due to a strong FDA presence. Your department's management knows that the FDA is a professional organisation, with strong negotiating and legal skills. We have more than 90 years' experience of representing people like you in the workplace.

The constructive approach taken by FDA representatives in your department plays a large part in ensuring that, by and large, staff are treated well and respected. Contrast this with most non-unionised workplaces, where the opposite is likely to be the case.

"I can look after myself - I don't need someone to do it for me"

Most FDA members are skilled, professional people - yet more than 19,000 of them recognise the value of belonging to an independent, professional organisation. Of course, you can deal with complex issues, customers, colleagues and managers. However, to have a say or to influence vitally important questions like pay, promotion, policy and pensions, you need the FDA and the FDA needs you.

We are here to help you if you encounter problems at work - and experience shows that you never know when that might be.