Stories from a trade union scrapbook.


July 21, 2022 21 min

In the final episode of the series,  we can’t avoid the role sex plays in misconduct at work.  Why do so many men think looking at porn in works time on work equipment is ok?  (Were they searching for tractors?) What did the telephone engineer say to the sex worker who couldn’t get a dialling tone? Are there some cases – both linked to pornography and not -  that are so extreme, the member forfeits the right to be represented? And ...

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Casework is a large part of any union rep’s life.  We meet the unfortunate and the miscreant.  Hear about the devastating impact conduct cases can have on employees and their families, how Stan’s love of vines nearly cost him his job, and why disclosure of confidential information is easier to allege than prove – and above all why a learning culture is so important in minimising the destructive fall-out from high profile cases.

A M...

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July 6, 2022 13 min

Sheffield becomes the epicentre as the union tries to go green. Were we ahead of the curve and how could we match the good intentions with worthwhile deeds?  How we came to love COEDS (Control of Environmentally Damaging Substances).  Why new ways of working  make “elf  n’ safey” even more important and immediate.

A Makes-You-Think production. Music by Scott Holmes. Companion blog here. Some names and other details have been change...

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June 22, 2022 16 min

Into the 1990s and beyond.  Demystifying Union Safety Reps, and how I broke the stereotype armed with just a white sliced loaf of bread.  Why  “elf n’ safey” isn’t just about bogs, basins and boring stuff. How we pushed back on a grand outsourcing plan so ill-conceived it nearly triggered a strike ballot amongst 100,000 employees - and the strange connection with Jermaine Defoe’s goal against Slovenia.

A Makes-You-Think production....

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Episode 3.  Into the 1990s. I’ve been with the National Communications Union for about a year and have been given responsibility for health and safety. We dive straight into the ground-breaking case that outlawed ruinous computer working practices (which saw employees literally crippled whilst employers ignored or dismissed the warning signs), the media scrum that followed the court case, how the EU was a force for good, and a revo...

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The late 1980s, and I’m working for the specialist civil servants’ union.  Hear why one employer thought jury service didn’t apply to their staff, how another sacked someone for being on maternity leave, and why a third was given a “take it or leave it” ultimatum by their employees.  Hear too about a change in my responsibilities that brought me face-to-face with spooks, so-called weapons of doom and, albeit indirectly, the Prime M...

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May 18, 2022 21 min

It’s 1986. Margaret Thatcher is prime minister.  Madonna, the Communards and Nick Berry jostle for the No 1 single. I’m working for the specialist civil servants’ union.  In this episode we travel from Glasgow’s abattoir to Kew Gardens,  via agricultural shows and the Government Communications Headquarters, travelling the length and breadth of the UK, and getting a behind-the-scenes look at some of Britain’s quintessential institut...

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May 12, 2022 1 min

A trailer for the forthcoming podcast series UnionDays - stories from a union scrapbook.  A Makes-You-Think production.  Music by Scott Holmes.  Contact us at info@makes-you-think.com.  Find us on YouTube and Insta - search UnionDays.

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