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The world of workers: The importance of union activity for non-unionised workplaces… January 30, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Mark Paul in the IT had a point well worth considering. He noted that ALDI and LIDL have both indicated that their workers are on levels of pay well ahead of the minimum wage increases which occur this week. Indeed they peg their wages to the ‘living wage’ or thereabouts, which as he notes is ‘set by a committee of left-leaning advocates’.

It’s far from nothing either – with the guts of a 100 euro a week for those on the living wage.

He continues:

The willingness of Aldi and Lidl to meet the “living wage” concept has made the State’s minimum wage almost obsolete in the supermarket sector, one of the industries for which it was originally designed.
It has also put pressure on the discounters’ rivals. For example, Dunnes Stores and Tesco, which have both earned plenty of ire from trade unions over the years, have awarded pay increases in each of the last five or six years.

Which is very important. But he makes an even more thought-provoking point here:

Would they have been as willing to do that if their non-union rivals Aldi and Lidl hadn’t kept hiking rates to meet the “living wage”? Hardly. The German discounters’ embrace of the living wage, which is supported by Siptu and Unite, also looks like a form of backdoor trade union engagement, even if neither side would ever admit it.

As we know, ALDI and LIDL are famously non-unionised. But… and it is a significant but. The very fact of union engagement in the area has influenced them and in doing so influenced others. A clear case of how important such union campaigning actually is, even, perhaps especially for workplaces that are not unionised. This is a lesson that is obviously applicable across a range of other areas. Ideally every worker and workplace should be unionised. But short of that ideal it is crucial that unions keep the pressure up, offer means by which companies where workers cannot unionise are kept to reasonable, some of us would say minimum, standards of pay, conditions and so on.


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