Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Union for Workers vs. Workers for Union

Yes, what is meant to serve what - is trade union supposed to serve its members or the opposite? That's the question which appears in my head when I think about this latest trade union's protest action in Gothenburg. Why on earth do they need to start almost a crusade against one young owner of a small restaurant? According to the available information, those few persons who are employed at this place get even BETTER paid than they would be guaranteed by collective agreement, and NONE of them is member in the trade union.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees the right to join such unions and enjoy the protection offered by them: "Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests." The same declaration guarantees also right to not be member of any association: "No one may be compelled to belong to an association." To put it shortly, it's up to workers THEMSELVES to decide if they want to join the union or not.

Even if the trade union could argue that they have good intentions, namely to protect the interests of those who work in this restaurant, it does not seem to be a good argument for their cause. If the workers themselves are satisfied and get paid more than enough, what interests does the union protect? If they continue acting in the same direction, it will lead to bankruptcy for the restaurant, and accordingly to NO SALARY for the workers. How is that for justice?

Then again, trade union has used the good old argument that what they do is not unlawful, and therefore there is nothing wrong with their activities. Mixing up law with moral judgement seems never been demonstrated so bravely. There are many things that are legal that me or somebody else is still not doing - simply because we choose to do something else, or we consider these specific activities to be of no interest for us, for whatever reason.

What trade union seems to be doing in this case is, in my understanding, stubbornly following hard principles, even if it entails harming the ones they are supposed to protect. Oh, excuse me - of course they do not have to protect those traitors... Or do they? What is more important, trade union or its members?

For me the answer is obvious.