We can all achieve more together than we can alone. When working people band together, they’re much more likely to get decent wages and be treated well at work.

Collective bargaining is the official process by which trade unions negotiate with employers, on behalf of their members.

Collective bargaining is only possible where an employer recognises a trade union and between them they decide on the scope of negotiations.

Most collective bargaining arrangements in the UK are voluntary. Good employers recognise the benefits that come from voluntary union recognition, such as being able to negotiate wages and other terms and conditions collectively for large groups of workers at the same time.

But the law also allows unions to make even hostile employers recognise them, if enough workers become union members and support union recognition. This is known as ‘statutory recognition’.

If your employer recognises a union for collective bargaining and you’re a member, improvements to your contract terms such as pay rises, negotiated by the union, should be automatically incorporated into your employment contract.

Collective bargaining with a recognised union is the best way to get decent wages, terms and conditions. If you’re not already a union member, it’s a good idea to join.

If you’re already a member but your union is not yet recognised, consider speaking to someone from your national union for advice on how to go about getting recognised.

Common
questions
I’m currently subject to collective bargaining but have been offered an individual contract of employment. What should I do?
There's a high risk of losing the benefit of valuable collectively agreed terms if you accept an individual contract of employment...
How do we go about claiming union recognition?
It's best to invite a full-time union official to approach the employer.