LISTEN up, plebs. I know times are tough, but that’s just too bad. Sure, you’re facing the worst cost of living crisis in 70 years, but let’s not get greedy, yeah?

Asking for a wage increase right now will only make things worse. In fact, we expect you to take a pay cut to keep the economy on track just as we’d like it. The more you suffer, the more it shows you really care. Right?

When it comes to laying bare the inadequacies of capitalism, the supposedly great minds at the head of the UK economy are usually a little more careful to mask its failures – yet the likes of the governor of the Bank of England, and Boris Johnson too, seem unable to spin this latest cataclysm into anything else.

Having faced declining wages in real terms under a decade of Conservative rule, it’s now seemingly up to the poorest to tighten their belts further to avoid spiralling inflation, the bizarre cost of an economic system that relies on poor wages to maintain itself.

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Capitalism, it would appear, is not economic freedom through the invisible hand of the market but rather a system that views fair wages that match increasing prices as an existential threat to itself.

And while those in the most dire situations are expected to take on the brunt of the consequences, you can be sure that those responsible for keeping wages artificially low, and facilitating the flow of wealth upwards to Britain’s bosses and CEOs, will be watching the latest economic turmoil from the safety of a second holiday home or from behind the glass of another half-empty London skyscraper.

We need strong unions now, more than ever – and thankfully the data points to a real resurgence in labour organising activity.

For the past five years, union membership in the UK has steadily been on the rise after being heavily weakened in the preceding decade (and then some).

It’s by no means a concrete resurgence though, and many sectors and industries are still woefully underrepresented – but there are reasons to hope.

The anti-work movement, which gained real momentum during the pandemic, has started to evolve from funny (if fruitless) screenshots of bad bosses being told where to stick it, into serious efforts at getting the workforce unionised. Driven primarily by young people, it’s powerful to see generations of workers who have never actually seen what a strong unionised workforce can achieve begin to fight back against the union-busting tactics of the powerful.

The tech industry especially is long overdue a reckoning for how it treats its employees, so the news that the Apple store in Glasgow is the first to unionise in the UK is hopefully a sign of things to come.

Big tech, and adjacent sectors like the video game industry, have long fought against any attempt to unionise their workforces – and just why these professions have remained so successfully disempowered is worth considering.

Perhaps it’s down to the fact that, in the scheme of things, these are relatively young sectors without the legacy of labour organising that more traditional manufacturing and industry in Scotland has.

The real growth of the tech giants that have come to dominate our lives today – major players such as Apple, Google, and Facebook – came at a time when unions were at their most disempowered and fractured.

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Couple that with a relatively young workforce who may have found their first jobs within the industry, giving them no experience of a unionised workforce, and it makes a lot of sense why unionisation has been such an issue.

Conversations around the forming of the United Tech and Allied Workers branch of the Communications Workers Union – a tech worker union led by tech workers – didn’t even begin until 2019, by which point Google was already listening in on our bad singing in the kitchen.

There is, not unfairly, a misconception of how some unions in the UK operate that can be quite offputting to younger workers; workers who may have looked at organisations filled with shouty older men who haven’t taken historic allegations of discrimination seriously, and found themselves thinking unions to be as outdated as human rights are apparently becoming in the United Kingdom.

Of course, despite this image issue (and organisational issue in some cases), there is power in a union, and more young folk are getting involved in organising their workplaces.

Even while writing this column in a local coffee shop where I tend to work, I ended up in a brief conversation with staff who talked about their own need to unionise. The power is there, and the people are ready to take it.

(And if you are someone who is looking to start organising for the first time, or to take your first steps toward understanding how best to organise, I’d recommend Eve Livingston’s Make Bosses Pay: Why We Need Unions, which acts as a great primer for those starting out.)

I hope that the decision for Glasgow’s Apple store to unionise will, like in Silicon Valley across the pond, act as a catalyst to further stores, staff and organisations following suit.

Especially at a time when the interests of Conservative politicians and tech CEOs are so clearly aligned in keeping Scotland’s workforce disempowered and disillusioned – lest more ask how it can be the case that they must suffer while tech bosses such as Elon Musk take home 600 times more in a single day than most in the UK will earn in their lifetime.