Basic trade union rights

What is a trade union?

A trade union is a democratic organisation made up of employees with the aim to protect and improve the pay, terms and conditions of its members. 

Existing independently from the employer, trade unions are often the first line of defence for workers facing disciplinary procedures, bullying in the workplace or unfair working practices.

Do I have the right to join a trade union?

Yes, everyone has the right to join a trade union, and you can exercise this right at any time.

Your employer is not allowed to try and influence your decision to join a trade union, either by offering an incentive if you choose not to, or a penalty if you do.

Do I have to inform my employer if I join a trade union?

No, if you pay your subscriptions by direct debit, as MITIE members do, only you, your bank and the union know you are a member.

You do not need to inform your employer.

Can I be discriminated against for being a trade union member?

No, your employer is not allowed to discriminate against you for being a trade union member, for taking part in trade union activities or making use of the services the trade union provides. 

This includes refusing a promotion or training opportunities or withholding a pay increase.

What are the benefits of trade union membership?

Trade unions provide many benefits for their members including:

  • Negotiating for better pay
  • Negotiating for better working terms and conditions
  • Providing advice and representation for problems at work
  • Ensuring opportunities for education and learning

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