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Unions champion the poor, right? That’s not what happened at ...


Unions champion the poor, right? That’s not what happened at Eskom

It’s a reminder trade unionists don’t care about the unemployed and are paid well to fight for those already with jobs


Let’s be very clear: if labour unions had never existed, being employed in 2022 would involve being chained to a machine, listening to the quiet sobs of the seven-year-old chained to the machine next door, as you wait for your supervisor to bring you your daily cup of water, paid for with a loan from the company at 25% interest per week, and get glared at from on high by the factory owner who is the spiritual love-child of Jeff Bezos and Genghis Kahn.

Every single person reading this column has benefited from the efforts of labour movements over the past 200 years, as activists, lawyers and workers wrestled back some of the power from our feudal overlords and turned the traditional aristocrat-serf shitshow into what we now recognise as the employer-employee relationship.

The problem with wrestling back some of the power, however, is that it is an intoxicating and paradoxical energy, and holding even a small amount of it can turn you into the very kind of thing you were fighting in the first place...

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