What are trade unions?

Unions are all about supporting their members at work. Those involved in the union movement believe that all aspects of working life should be the subject of discussion and agreement between employers and employees who are organised together under the protection of a trade union. Trained representatives of the union lead this initiative, providing help and assistance to members.

Should I join a union?

People generally join a union in order to get access to one or a combination of the following benefits:

  • An independent voice to negotiate with your employer
  • Independent industrial relations and specialist employment law advice, support and representation
  • Health and Safety

Who would you turn to if you had to go through a disciplinary procedure at work or if you had to bring a grievance against your employer? If you were being bullied, harassed or discriminated against at work, what would you do?

Do you feel that your employer is looking after your health and safety at work? Are you being exposed to risks that you don’t think you should be? If you had an accident at work whom would you turn to for objective, accurate legal advice and support?

Being a member of a Trade Union you would get support.

If you have a legal case resulting from a workplace accident or any other work-related legal case, Trade Unions organise solicitors who will deal with it at no cost to you. This includes: unfair dismissals, redundancies, industrial diseases, pay cuts, pension disputes, sex, race and disability discrimination, harassment and bullying and equal pay.

How do I access a Trade Union

If there’s a union at work, you can ask the trade union representative (‘rep’) about joining. Their contact details may be in your company handbook, intranet site or on the union noticeboard. The union rep will tell you if you’re eligible to join and give you a membership form to fill in.

The Government publishes information about Unions.

Here are some links:

Joining a trade union

The Work Smart website from the TUC (Trades Union Congress) offers a Union finder tool: https://worksmart.org.uk/tools/union-finder.


For our full information about Employment Law advice, information and representation and unions, please click here.