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Young workers unaware of their rights

Young workers are unaware of the rights they hold within their workplaces and aren’t signing up for union representation despite knowing the benefits membership provides, our new research has found.

We recently commissioned some research to see how clued up young people (18-30 year olds) currently are regarding their rights in the workplace. Our study showed that nearly 1 in 3 (28%) of those asked said they were completely unaware of their rights within their current workplace and over a third (34%) wouldn’t know where to turn if they felt they’d been unfairly dismissed.

Yet, nearly seven in ten (69%) believed that trade union members know more about their rights at work than those who aren’t members. In fact, nearly two fifths (39%) of those that do belong to a union said they felt more protected at work.

Just over two-fifths (41%) believe young people are far more vulnerable and should be protected by unions. The rise of ‘gig economy’ jobs and zero-hours contracts serves to highlight the changing face of British working life and the growing need for better workplace representation and assistance.

Half of those asked said they understood the vital support network trade unions supply however, just short of two-thirds (65%) of young workers do not belong to a union.

Of those that were union members, just under a third (32%) of young union members have been assisted through an issue at work by their union representative – over a quarter (27%) identified a sense of community that comes with belonging to a trade union.

Jon Craven, UIA Mutual CEO said ”Our long heritage is intertwined with that of the trade union movement - this combined with our mutual status puts UIA Mutual in a unique position to endorse the power of people (young, old or somewhere in between!) coming together to get better outcomes."