Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Standing up for the little people

I have to confess that I am not really a political animal. Like many people I feel that decisions are made regardless of what I think – politicians just go ahead and do it anyway. I am married to a wonderful man that does not think like that. He is the chairperson of the northern branch of his union.

There is a scene in the movie “The Railway Children” where there has been a landslide and the only way to stop the train is to stand on the lines and wave a something to catch the attention of the train driver and force him to stop. This so eloquently describes what my husband does.

Right now discussions are taking place to decide whether the Crofter’s Commission employees are to remain civil servants or to loose their civil service status. It may not be the biggest train coming down the track, but it effects the staff of the Crofter’s Commission. The label “civil servant” doesn’t make them a better worker, but it guarantees an established set of working conditions. There is no guarantee that any of those working conditions will be honoured once the Crofters Commission looses its civil service status. Promises were made to protect the worker’s right that ministers and management seem to be able to conveniently lay aside.

Sometimes the decisions of management and bosses are not made to benefit the workers. Many people just let it happen, mostly because they don’t know what to do, or how to do it. My husband does know what to do, and the times that he is not sure what to do, he makes it is job to find out. Any business is only as good as the people who work there. If the workers do not feel valued, they don’t produce the best that they are capable of doing.

Unions provide a service to workers to ensure that their rights are protected and their needs in the working environment are met. Being a teacher I am a member of a union. A large part of becoming a member was down to being married to a union man. Before I joined the union I hoped that I would never encounter a serious enough problem to need their assistance – and of course, it all costs money and you wonder if it is worth it.

There seems to be a minefield in Christian circles about whether people should join unions or not. They think they are “worldly” organisations, not set up by “The Church” and full of “trouble-makers stirring things up”. It is sad that an area where the church should be the frontrunner – protecting vulnerable people – is left to the world to make a difference. God is interested in the WHOLE person – not just the praying, singing, reading the Bible person. We spend a third of our lives in our work environment – and God is interested in that third.

We live in a society that has forgotten how to look after one another. I just wanted to say that I am proud to be married to someone that hasn’t!


Mark H said...

Here here! I share your admiration of Joe's heart in the workplace. He inspires me, though I do not always understand all the politics! We've been praying a lot recently regarding righteousness - and it has to be worked out somewhere. Joe inspires me to make it happen.

On a related note, you may be interested to know that Christians all over the UK made sufficient noise together recently to block the UK Assisted Dying Bill which we prayed about a couple of weeks ago on Sunday morning:

See this news item

Praise God for the cries of His people into the world for righteousness and justice.

Izzy said...

What a wonderul man of god he must be. He sounds like he has the heart of lion. Should social or economic injustice have a strata? We should speaking for all where there has been injustice right? It's our father's heart right?!

Proverbs 31:8-9
8 "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.

9 Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy."