engage magazine issue 001 spring \'06 - Page 61

Typical union services include: • free legal advice; • lobbying of local authorities, governments and EEC on behalf of members; • debt recovery; • training on new technology or covering new regulations, • dispute resolution; • support from shop stewards inside any company you have a dispute with; • advice on health & safety issues: and, • expertise on very specialist areas of law such as copyright. Most unions either have training departments or work with the TUC to provide regular courses for members. These tend to be subjects that won’t be provided by the local technical college, are either free or offered at cost price to members. For example, bullying at work or age discrimination are popular courses. Equally, media unions are finding that courses on using the latest technology are popular - as is information on the impact of current copyright legislation on anyone who is in a creative industry. If you are the next J.K. Rowling, this is vital if you want to receive all the fees your books will generate! The ability to attend branch meetings where experiences can be shared and you can feel as if you are real people, not cost centres, is also seen as a major plus - as is having branch officials who can start resolving your problems the next day. By Chris Youett who is a leading authority of IT and a long-serving branch officer of the NUJ. He lectures throughout the UK on media and transport issues - and also supports Coventry’s worldfamous rugby club.