The number of people in the UK searching for advice on how to join a union has ‘exploded’ after a week of strike action by transport workers and public appearances by trade unionist Mick Lynch.
Google has seen a 184% rise in searches for ‘join union’ in the wake of strike action by employees of Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) – with searches for ‘how to strike’ rising to 135% since strikes started. The analysis from recruitment experts Workello suggests that as of 22 June 2022 the search terms reached their highest levels in over a year.
A spokesperson for Workello says that while the train strikes have led to many Brits facing disruptions to travel, they have also encouraged interest in unions and strike action.
They added, “With more strikes across other sectors rumoured to take place in the future, it will be interesting to see whether these searches continue to rise, especially if strikers achieve their desired outcome.”
Rise in support for strikes
Elsewhere, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) reported an 800% increase in recorded traffic on their Join a Union website, and on Monday YouGov reported a 6% increase in adults polled who support the rail strike, and a 4% decrease in adults who oppose – in comparison to a poll taken at the start of the month.
The search engine peak coincided with an evening appearance by Secretary General of the RMT, Mick Lynch, on the ITV political interview programme, Peston.
During a speech at a rally in Kings Cross on Saturday, Lynch said that unions were no longer about men ‘in starch collars, with handlebar moustaches,’ calling for a change in unions to reflect the diversity of the workforce.
Mick Lynch raises his profile
In the week of the strikes, Lynch went from being a relatively unknown trade unionist to having video montages of his television appearances shared widely on Twitter. A video titled, ‘Just Mick Lynch bodying journalists’, has received three million views to date. In his speech he said, ‘I didn’t know what trending meant until Monday.’
He continued, ‘It’s no good having a [social media] profile if we do not deliver for the workers, and that’s what trade unionism and strike action and campaigning is all about,’ ending his speech by urging the crowd, ‘If you’re not in a union, get in a union.’