If you went by what the media generally reports, you would think that unions are all about strikes. The rail unions, in particular, whether it’s Aslef on the Southern Service or the RMT and TSSA on the Tube, are currently in news because of their strikes. Even doctors in the BMA were on strike last year.
The reality is that unions are about a lot more than just strikes, but the other things they do are somewhat less newsworthy. The Trade Union Congress has 50 member unions, including the NUJ, and represents almost 5.6 million workers. Non-TUC unions accounted for around 700,000 more members in 2015, bringing the overall figure to over 6 million.