Our mission: to keep people safe at sea

Ben Caile, a continual improvement analyst at the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO), has been a member since 2010. He joined shortly after he started his new job, on the suggestion of his line manager.

The UKHO serve the Royal Navy and Merchant Navy, and provide navigational material such as charts to their customers, alongside data and other material products they may need. Ben is a user researcher, and his job involves speaking to customers and potential customers, to find out their wants and needs and how to respond to those needs.

Ben is currently working on ways to improve their ways and services, particularly using UKHO data in a variety of different ways – such as using the latest information to underpin offshore renewables, or looking into the flora and fauna of the world’s oceans to see how to monitor and take care of them.

He’s proud to work for the UKHO, and to achieve their mission, which is to keep people safe at sea.

Ben “started to see how much the union is worth to its members” after seeing strike action to defend pensions conditions, and seeing his colleagues helped out by Prospect in personal cases.

Witnessing the importance of Prospect support in the workplace inspired Ben to become more actively involved with Prospect – he wanted to “make sure that the union had a future by taking part more as a rep on the branch council.”

Greater involvement in the union has benefitted Ben personally and professionally. “By becoming a member of branch council, I’ve had to develop a whole set of skills which are directly transferable to the workplace.”

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Through Ben’s increased involvement in the union, he has worked on a number of different issues. For instance, Ben represented Prospect at the 2019 Trade Union Congress, where he tabled a motion (fact check) to guarantee protection for UK seafarers.

Ben believes a workplace is a much safer place to be if the majority of employees are unionised, and has a message for those that are unsure about joining a trade union. “We negotiate pay, conditions, we’re there for personal cases. For that to be supported, we need members.”

In Ben’s experience, Prospect work at the direction of their members. “If you’re new to your workplace and have an issue or subject you are passionate about, joining a union can help this cause be taken up.

Ben feels Prospect is the best union he has encountered, because “we are evidence-based, we are very analytical and we’re very targeted with what we do.”

He has a simple message for non-union members. “If you don’t join a union, the capacity for the union to support you in the workplace will diminish over time.”