I can understand your Mum's point of view, if she used to be in the industry. It's an emotive thing and probably not personal.
For me, I don't need a union to negotiate a collctive contract for me. However, there are a number of people who do need others to level the playing field. Unions generally don't get the best results.
I'm all for people getting paid a fair wage for a fair days work. I guess why I don't understand tipping. If you need a job that pays better, get a qualification. For someone under 16, the minimum wage here is $8.20 and for someone over that, $10.25.
You can't live where I do on that, though you can live in many places in NZ and have a great life by the sea (as the average is 40km for anyone here) and a decent lifestyle.
"Do a job you love, and never work a day in your life!"
If you don't like your job, start loking for a new one. If you aren't qualified to do it. Work towards it.
End of story.