skip to main content

What Could a UBI Do For My Trade Union?

Catch up with musician Balraj Samrai, Labour MP John McDonnell and others on why unions should support a universal basic income (UBI), plus find out how you can be part of the movement too.

Published: 13 May 2024 | 4:15 PM
A young man in a wheel chair writing in his journal and working on his computer.
UBI must be equal, simple, democratic and inclusive. Image credit: Stocksy.

Trade unionists from across the movement came together for a look at the relationship between unions and a universal basic income (UBI) in an online event hosted by UBI Lab Manchester.

Panelists including musician and MU member Balraj Samrai and Labour MP John McDonnell discussed:

  • Why trade unions should support a UBI
  • Why many trade unions are not supporting a UBI
  • What arguments will get more trade unions onboard with a UBI

Also on the panel were current University and College Union NEC member and former UCU President Vicky Blake, and Co-founder of UBI Lab Wales and Welsh Government basic income pilot technical advisory group member Jonathan Rhys Williams.

The panel was moderated by MU Campaigns & Social Media Manager Maddy Radcliff.

It follows on from a discussion at the Basic Income North Conference, deep diving into what a universal basic income could mean for trade union members.

What is a UBI?

A universal basic income (UBI) is an unconditional monthly sum paid to everyone to act as a basic income alongside work.

There are many different models for a UBI, but it is generally agreed that any UBI must be equal, simple, democratic and inclusive.

The Musicians’ Union has supported a UBI since MU Delegate Conference 2021, where members from across the UK voted for a motion calling for support for a basic income for all, with a basic income for creative workers as a possible stepping stone.

Learn more about the MU’s work for UBI in our campaign hub.


Can a UBI keep music live?

The idea of a universal basic income has been around for centuries. Now, the MU and many others believe its time has come.

Can a UBI keep music live?

Continue reading

General Secretary Naomi Pohl stands in discussion outside of the Royal Opera House

2023 End of Year Round Up

MU General Secretary Naomi Pohl reports back on the work that the Union has done through 2023, as well as setting out some of MU’s intentions for 2024, and more general food for thought about the music industry.

Published: 30 December 2023

Read more about 2023 End of Year Round Up