Well TNBT I've not really such bad experiences that I can express opinions similar to yours towards Trades Unions representatives with such venom (I'm not criticising you that's just how your post comes across). I certainly couldn't say that local representatives were out "to stab me or my colleagues in the back". In fact on the one or two occasions I've needed representation the union has done a better job of representing me than I coud have myself and I've been glad of it.
My attitude is that anybody who puts themselves forward for such a thankless task should be encouraged and supported. However, like in any role, the quality and commitment of the individual that takes on a TU representative role and the way the regional TU representatives and the organisation higher-up work together can make the difference, or not, over specific issues, e.g. outsourcing, redundancy, AfC, etc, and more general aspects, e.g. disputes, employment legislation, etc.
I think that if there are perceived problems between TU and members they need to be aired and discusssed. It's a thankless task but I think for TU representatives, like John Murphy reading your post, that it must be a big "kick in the teeth" and it's a generalisation that I can't agree with since all of the TU representatives I've met have been decent people trying to help. Perhaps we're forgetting what they're sometimes up against and, as John comments, whether we would fare any better without any TU support at all. I still disagree with John on this point:
If the Trust(s) fails to negotiate with non T. U. staff then it is for them(the staff) to be proactive in the process and initiate discussion.
In most employment legislation and guidelines I've looked at (concerning changes in Terms & Conditions, TUPE, Pensions, etc) it's actually the responsibility of the employer, on many employment issues, to make ALL
employees aware of changes that affect them - to make the first move, so to speak. If non TU member employees are not initially made aware of issues, possibly until it's too late to put up a case against it themselves, how can they be proactive and pursue them?
I've seen failures of management to consult with non-TU members on a couple of occasions, where non-TU members have been left out of proper consultation and not updated on negotiations that would affect them, since the management assume they're fullfilling their role by talking to the TU representatives. This leaves some "out of the loop" unless the TU is willing to bring them "in from the cold" to share information (as I've seen done in the past, FOC). This would be prevented if we had a "closed shop" but I'm not advocating this.
I think that on a lot of issues it's worthwhile being a TU member and giving support to those willing to take on the role. Unfortunately we all know how the system operates and if employers have the backing of divisive government, politicians and legislators, with specific objectives, then there's very little anybody can do whether they vote, protest or take some other action.