The circumstances that lead people to join SIPTU can vary, but the underlying reason is the desire for effective representation in the workplace and in work-related issues. SIPTU's core objective is to secure the best possible standard of living for its members.

In times past, the focus for this objective was very simple - improving pay and conditions in the workplace. But, more recently, the Union and its members have recognised that living standards are decided by much more than pay and conditions alone. Our overall quality of life can also be affected by factors like taxation levels and the quality of the "social wage" (involving health, education, social welfare provision, housing and the environment) as well as issues relating to dignity at work and job security.

SIPTU works on these and other issues on many fronts at both local and national level - with the same underlying objective of advancing the best interests of its members.

As a member of SIPTU, you will have access to skilled and professional negotiators who can help achieve the appropriate rate for the job you are doing. You will also be assured that you will receive the increases set down in any national agreements, on the due date, and that you will receive any minimum wage rates, where they are due.

If you are in a low paid employment, SIPTU will ensure that you are at least in receipt of the National Minimum Wage and keep track of your employer's profits so that claims for higher pay can be pursued at the right time.

There are several ways in which your basic pay can be improved - ranging from a simple service pay scheme, which rewards you for long service, to a more sophisticated form of reward like a profit-share scheme where you literally share in the profits of the company.  Who gets the promotional positions in your company? If you need to gain additional skills to apply for promotional positions, will your employer cover the cost?

Every employment should have a 'staff manual' or an agreement negotiated between the workers' elected representatives and the employer. It will cover issues such as promotional positions and the filling of vacancies in a way which is of most benefit to the existing workers. If you need time off to attend training courses, SIPTU can negotiate paid time off for you. back to top Dignity at Work

As an employee, you are entitled to be treated with respect and dignity at work - by your employer, and by your fellow workers. SIPTU can negotiate arrangements to combat bullying and harassment, which will protect your right not to be discriminated against on grounds of gender, sexual orientation or age.

Hours of Work, Overtime and Shift Payments
While the legal maximum average working week is 48 hours, most unionised employments have a basic 39-hour week, and overtime is paid at one and a half times the hourly rate for hours worked over and above this, from Monday to Friday and double the hourly rate on Saturdays and treble the hourly rate on Sundays or Bank Holidays. Most workers are entitled by law to four weeks' paid annual holidays each year and a proportion of that for periods of employment of less than a year. SIPTU has negotiated holidays above the legal minimum in many employments - often based on service but not always.

Shift premium is normally paid to workers whose hours of work are considered unsociable. SIPTU has a track record second to none in securing the best deals for unsocial hours allowances and shift premiums where workers have to work around the clock to meet production needs. Payments start at 20% and can go as high as 33.3% for continuous round-the-clock shift systems.

Pension Schemes
Although there is no legislation which says you must have a pension scheme or even a sick pay scheme, national wage agreements have consistently stated that where there is neither a pension scheme nor a sick pay scheme, then workers have a right to negotiate for them.

Equally, where existing pensions or sick pay schemes are out of line with those in other similar companies, then workers can seek improvements. As the largest trade union in the country, SIPTU is well placed to make direct comparisons with other unionised firms with good pension and sick pay provisions.

The new Pensions Act requires employers to deduct contributions to a Personal Retirement Savings Account, if the employee wishes.

Atypical Work
Atypical is a term used to describe contract, casual, seasonal, job sharing or temporary work, etc. Much of the legal existing protection for full-time workers has been extended to cover contract employees, part-time workers, job sharers, etc.

SIPTU representatives aim to ensure that all employers comply with all of the provisions of the law and that no-one suffers discrimination for being an atypical worker.

Often full-time workers may wish to move to fewer hours or more flexible work patterns - especially to meet family commitments. Employers have signed up to the Family-Friendly Workplace Policy initiative and SIPTU will negotiate the introduction of such an initiative on your behalf if you wish.

Health and Safety
Your health and safety are your real wealth. But some employers put them at risk unnecessarily. The law requires every employer to produce a Safety Statement which clearly sets out all of the hazards in the workplace and the steps taken to reduce the risks associated with them. Workers are also entitled to elect Safety Representatives with special powers to ensure workplace hazards are dealt with properly.

SIPTU is very effective at ensuring that the law is adhered to and will ensure that your health and safety receives top priority at work. SIPTU has a specialised Safety and Health Unit as well as an Industrial Engineering Department to advise on all health and safety issues.

Loss of Employment
Of course, all the legal protections for workers won't amount to much if you are made redundant or laid off. That is why membership of SIPTU will at least guarantee that, where an employer can afford it, the golden handshake for the workers will be worth more than anything they are entitled to by law. back to top Union Recognition

No matter what how much an employer may like to say otherwise, every worker is legally entitled to join a trade union. Until recently there was no obligation on an employer to negotiate with a union. But now the Labour Court can issue binding recommendations on pay and conditions in any employment where the employer refuses to recognise the union.

Professional Representation
Job satisfaction depends on a number of factors including good pay, recognition for long service, an acceptable level of supervision, exchange of information, consultation and involvement and good clean physical working conditions.

SIPTU members are represented by highly skilled negotiators, experienced in all aspects of working life. The Union's front-line officials are backed up by professional services provided by industrial engineers, health and safety experts, researchers, tutors and publications and public relations specialists.

Additional Benefits
Many other additional benefits also come from membership of an organisation with over 200,000 members nationwide. As consumers, our members' combined buying power represents a formidable force. This spending potential has been used by the Union to secure discounts and special offers for a range of products and services - known collectively as TUF Membership Plus.

The Union also provides a range of scholarships each year for members and their children. Scholarships are available for both third- and second-level institutions. SIPTU also offers a number of Gaeltacht scholarships nationally each year while many Union Branches also organise their own Gaeltacht scholarships in conjunction with local employers.


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