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posted 15 Dec 2014, 20:37 by Gerry Kangalee
In its last twenty one settlements the National Workers Union (NWU) has been able to extract from employers $2.4 million as compensation for workers who have, in the main, been dismissed (summarily or constructively)or made redundant not in accordance with proper industrial relations principles and practices. 

These settlements refer to what is called in industrial relations circles “off the street” matters, meaning that these workers were not organised into bargaining units and were not members of a union before their employers subjected them to unconscionable and exploitative disciplinary measures. Some of the settlements were arrived at bilaterally and others were arrived at before a third party (Ministry of Labour or Industrial Court)

The law dictates that a worker has to have his matter handled by a union if it is to be heard before a third party. The National Workers Union, realising that the vast majority of working people is not organised into unions, has made it its business to ensure that these super-exploited workers at least have some hope of gaining reparations for harsh and oppressive action taken against them, although it involves a lot of work to prepare and advocate hundreds of individual matters.

Of course, even if these workers do get some monetary compensation this in no way can make up for the loss of a steady income and these matters are not settled expeditiously, but do take some time to be concluded. In the meantime, unemployed workers face the horror of having to mind themselves and their families; the horror of ketching their nennen to pay rents or mortgages; to put food on the table; to ensure their children’s education is not disrupted; to keep their family lives from falling apart.

Unorganised workers are at a total disadvantage in their relationship with their employers. In order to tip the scales a bit more in their favour, workers must organise themselves as a collective and join a union where they will deal with the boss not as cowed and intimidated individuals, but as a collective with the strength of organisation and resources that unions bring to the table. Unorganised workers must join a union now!