I think that the corporations, the government, and everyone else needs to remember how unionisation actually works: a LARGE number of people down tools and picket significant sites. Thats a union. It doesn't matter whether a company 'recognises' that union or not; the action still takes place, disruption is caused and the corporations and government lose money.
Now, in most cases, such action is fairly minimal, with a disruption to a specific area of business or corporation, and tends to be little more than an inconvienience, but consider the implications of a national strike of IT personnel. Such an action would dwarf even the miners strike during the eighties and be far more effective.
We're often expected to work excessive hours, often on low-end pay (especially pertinent to service centre staff, such as helpdesk analysts who are compared to call-centre staff for purposes of salary calculations), we are cheated out of bonuses whilst our employers report 'record profits', we are expected to meet internal KPI's and external SLA's which are often in contradiction with each other, we are cajoled by middle-management often with no knowledge of IT, we carry the blame for failure but rarely the recognition of success, our jobs are out-sourced and moved overseas to avoid TUPE regulations, and we are NOT represented as an industry at even a local level, let alone nationally. Consequently, we, alongside the much harrased call-centre worker, are treated as the cotton mill workers of the 21st century, and I, for one, am considering chucking my sabot into the gears on a near daily basis.
I think its about time that we had a union specifically intended to represent IT staff in the UK, and the so-called 'Fat cats' should be very afraid of that.
Unions may indeed be 'de-fanged' these days (after all, they are now seen as 'business partners' to the corporations, and are hung up on politics and profits in the same way as the coporations themselves), but that doesn't mean that action cannot, and will not, be taken.
My message to the IT industry: treat us fairly or face the consequences. It's only a matter of time.
PS I am posting anonymously for fear of professional repurcussions, which is a fine indicator of the climate!