Are You Exploited At Work?

Given our polling findings, it’s not unlikely that you might be exploited at work. If you are, or you’re not sure, here’s what you can do:


Even without the protection from abuse or support unions offer, joining one is a good idea. There is clear evidence that countries with high levels of trade union membership and density have much lower levels of income and wealth inequality. A well-organised future workforce will be a key factor if the UK is to build a more democratic and equitable economic future. Trade union members are paid more on average: 4.8% more in 2021. Previous research indicates the difference is even more dramatic for young people, with as much as a 39% increase.

Your workplace may have a specific recognised union which negotiates with your management, but even if you don’t, anyone can join a union that covers their sector or a general union.

The TUC has a union finder tool available here to help you find a union that fits your job.


Unions offer support with workplace disputes, but you can also approach organisations like Valla if you’re being treated badly.

If you have a formal dispute with your employer, Valla can help you – for free – organise your case, find what evidence you might need, approach tribunals, and generally guide you through the process. They also have an extensive collection of guides that explain your rights at work and a library of templates. They also have an extremely good TikTok account that discusses common workplace issues, answers questions, and details some tactics you can use – or could be used against you – if you have a bad boss.

School Resources

Our work found that many leave school without enough education on this topic. If you’re at school, or work at one, you may be able to arrange for a few extra lessons on the subject – and if so, you can use our resources and lesson plans, produced as part of the same work between The Equality Trust, young people, and the Alex Ferry Foundation.

The lessons have been trialled with several schools across the UK with a positive response from both students and teachers. The lessons are split into two subjects and give students the opportunity to explore issues surrounding their employment rights.

Download them here.