Wednesday, 15 February 2012
Rubber Ear Treatment
Lots of people contact me to complain about their trade unions - more often than not it's because they get the rubber 'ear treatment' - they just get fobbed off.
Now in my view this happens because trade unions are not independently regulated - so when things go wrong there's not an independent complaints procedure - which can help the little guy get answers from the big guy.
The irony is that the unions are always quick to call for other areas of public life to be properly regulated and - where necessary - held to account.
But it's a case of 'Do as I say, not as I do' - because if you have a complaint against your trade union at the moment that it's akin to the police investigating the police - I'm afraid.
A complaint might get kicked upstairs to some functionary - in the trade union equivalent of the Circumlocution Office.
But at the end of the day a member's complaint is unlikely to be upheld - especially if this would cost money - and/or upset any political applecarts.
The situation may be different if you're unhappy about a legal claim - such as an equal pay claim - which the trade union's solicitors are dealing with on your behalf.
If the service is poor and you're not receiving answers to your questions - then you could always consider complaining directly to the union's solicitors.
And if they don't give you a proper answer or decent service - then people are entitled to complain directly to the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC).
Which can deal with your complaint itself - or refer this on to the Law Society of Scotland.
So maybe that's something to think about - if you're getting the run around.