What do trade unions do?
Trade unions are organised groups of workers who come together to support each other in the workplace, negotiating with employers to improve pay, terms and conditions and ensure fair and equal treatment.
Unions provide members with individual advice and representation, and many also offer their members opportunities for personal and professional development. For more about the benefits that unions can bring, check out our report 'The Union Advantage'.
Can I join a trade union?
Yes. You have a legal right to join a union if you wish to do so and you can't be disadvantaged in any way at work just because you are a union member.
Which union should I join?
There may well be a union in your workplace. If so, talk to the union rep and get advice on how to join up. It's always best to join the union that's already established where you work. They may have an official recognition deal with your employer, which gives them more rights to represent you, or even if they don't, there's a lot to be said for being in a larger grouping of members.
If there isn't already a union present where you work, you can get more information on which to join by using our online union finder at our advice site workSMART.org.uk or by calling the Join a Union Helpline on 0870 600 4882.
Issued: 21 July, 2011