Joining a union

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Understanding, supporting and, where necessary, defending today's workforce.

Today's unions are listened to by government and employers. Many of the rights we enjoy at work have been won by union campaigning. We get things done and provide a quality service.

Every day unions help thousands of people at work. Last year unions won a record £330 million compensation for their members through legal action. They won £1 million in equal pay claims - an average of £15,000 per member. And of course unions help negotiate better pay and conditions.

But unions are not just there when something goes wrong. We understand today's working people. Union workplaces are safer, and more likely to help employees get on with better training and development programmes. And in the best workplaces employers and unions have put behind them outdated ideas of confrontation and work together in partnership.

Partnership employers recognise that staff morale and commitment are improved when they are treated well, have their views taken into account and enjoy job security. And in return staff take more pride in their work and are more ready to embrace the changes modern firms often need to compete.

Unions take on the bad employers, and work with the good to make them better.

How to choose a union

It's not always easy working out which union to join. For some jobs there is only one right choice. For others there are a range of unions from which you can choose. But there are some simple principles to help guide you.

Unions are about people working together, so it always makes sense:

  • to join a union that your employer already formally recognises,
  • or if there's no recognition agreement then to join one that has other members already working for your employer,
  • or has members doing similar jobs for a similar employer

You can find out whether your employer recognises unions using our unionfinder at workSMART.org.uk

You can also browse an alphabetical list of unions, or search by industry sector to find which unions are relevant to your job.

If you're still stuck, you can email the TUC directly for advice.

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