The wealth of consumer complaints programs both on TV and Radio, coupled with recent life experiences have perhaps made clear to me the lack of willingness for members of the public, in what ever walk in life to take a stand in what they truly believe in.
Yes I am aware that industrial action over the past few months and years has increased, however with the last display of public strikes (whom the majority were teachers) only ¼ of those eligible to strike actually took part, with the remainder choosing to cross the picket line.
Whether you agree with the method of striking politically, the very fact that it has become accepted that when ever the ‘ordinary’ person is to enter into a battle, in order for them to proceed they have to be 100% certain that they are going to win.
Personally I think this is wrong. No matter what situation you come up against in life you can never be 100% certain of the outcome, and with the case of political debates, there will almost certainly be an expert who knows more on a given topic than yourself; so why bother?
The reason why you should bother is because large companies, bosses, teachers, politicians all expect you to back down; they know that you either don’t have the time and energy to continue fighting your corner, and so will eventually back down. If this is the case, you may as well firstly not have taken up the complaint in the first place, and secondly just put the welcome mat on the floor and ask them to walk all over you.
It is true, that in todays world that we do have less time, energy (and in some cases funding) to continue to fight what we believe is right – so we turn to unions for support. The aim of unions is that one voice is quiet, where as a union of hundreds of voices carries a lot more oomph, and the threat of any action carries a lot more weight behind it. However unions can not do the work for you.
Unions are there to assist you in getting your point across, not to do all the work for you. In the case of trade unions – the threat of striking is useless of no-one acts upon it; in the case of student union the threat of taking something further is pointless if people don’t stand behind it; and in the case of the work place, the threat of going above your line managers head and taking it to the MD is pointless unless the support is behind you to do so.
So where am I going with this?
Firstly society as a whole needs to start standing up for what they rightfully believe in, accept that you may not win all the battles you choose to fight; the person you are standing up against depends on your self doubt for you to back down.
Secondly refuse to give up at the first hurdle; in the case of making a complaint to a company don’t give up when the first person you speak to says no. Ask to speak to someone else who is more senior, and if required call back on a different occasion.
Thirdly don’t expect unions to do all the work for you. Yes they are there to help you, but they are not there to do all the work for you. Why should a union put their money/public image at risk, if you are not happy to assist them in fighting your corner?
If you’re not happy to get your hands dirty, you will never end up winning.