FAQ

Better Than Zero supports workers to fight bosses who use zero-hour contracts and other precarious working conditions. The campaign started with a focus on the hospitality sector, and is now active wherever there is precarious work. Precarious workers are at the mercy of their bosses until they stand together and take action.

If you are looking for advice on what you’re legally entitled to, like minimum wage or holiday pay or breaks, then take a look at our Resources page. Print these off and hand them out to your colleagues!

If you want some specific advice about your ‘terms and conditions’ i.e. what you have agreed, with your employer, to do for a wage, then feel free to get in touch and join your trade union.

I’m worried I’ll get into trouble trying to get better wages or conditions in my work, what should I do?

Joining your trade union and contacting Better than Zero is only the first step, but through this you will get support to learn how you and your colleagues can negotiate effectively with your employer.

Back to top

How do I know it will help?

Working collectively with the rest of your colleagues is the only way anything will ever change – trade unions have proved this for over 150 years!

Workers, through their trade unions, demanded shorter working days, weekends, paid holidays, the welfare state, and minimum wage. Recently, workers across Scotland, through Better than Zero and their trade unions, have won paid transport home when working after 11pm.

Back to top

Will my employer know if I join a union?

You can join a trade union on direct debit so your employer won’t know that you’ve joined … until you and your colleagues start putting your demands to them!

Back to top

What is a trade union?

A trade union is an organisation of workers who have come together to achieve common goals, such as better pay, more secure contracts, and good working conditions. The power of a union comes from the collective commitment of its members in a workplace, sector, or industry, who elect representatives to bargain with employers. If employers will not bargain, unions can take collective action.

Back to top

Is Better than Zero a trade union?

No, Better than Zero is not a trade union. It is a campaign that targets exploitative bosses, supports workers resisting unfair and insecure work, and encourages people in precarious work to join trade unions.

When people contact Better than Zero with a workplace issue, Better than Zero puts them in touch with the right union, for example Unite for bar staff, BFAWU for fast food workers, BECTU for television runners, and so on.

Back to top

Can I join a trade union?

Everyone, regardless of job, title, age, or status has a fundamental legal right to join a trade union. It is illegal for your employer to forbid you from joining, discourage you from joining, or in any way penalise or treat you less favourably for being a member.

Back to top

What rights do I have as a union member?

Your right to access trade union services, legal advice, support and representation are protected by law.

You have a right to be accompanied by your union representative in grievance and disciplinary meetings.

You also have the right to come together with colleagues to choose a representative, and to request that your employer recognises your union and enters into a collective agreement with you.

Back to top

What is a collective agreement?

A collective agreement is where an employer recognises a trade union as the collective voice of its workers and agrees to follow a set of procedures, including a process for settling pay and other conditions of work.

This process includes the right for workers to elect a trade union representative who will negotiate terms and conditions with the employer, on behalf of all workers, instead of workers simply being told what they’re pay and conditions are.

You can negotiate on anything – from your hourly rate of pay, to time off for education, to what kind of soup is served in the canteen. The world’s your oyster!

Back to top

What if my employer won’t recognise a union?

While most large companies have union agreements, some employers will resist this. An employer can be obliged by law to enter into a collective agreement where over 50% of staff join or where a secret ballot of staff is held and the majority vote Yes.

Back to top

Are there any good employers?

Any employer can have good and bad qualities.

But without you and your colleagues uniting together on your demands, then there’s no equality of arms and your employer is likely to try and make more money out of keeping you divided. This is true of any employer.

Back to top

Loading