More than three million people throughout the UK are members of trade unions. This means that when there’s a problem at work, they know they have the backing of a strong organisation. They can get legal assistance, help with workplace injuries or support with a disciplinary action.

But belonging to a union means much more. Unions address discrimination, offer training opportunities and negotiate agreements that improve many areas of their members’ lives. And yet union contributions represent only about half a percent of a worker’s earnings. Find out more about the advantages of union membership below.

To join UNISON please download and complete the membership application form. Completed forms should be sent in the internal mail to: Lorainne Gray (Membership Secretary), Cash Office Ext 86724.

Alternatively you can join UNISON online by filling in an application form (below) or by phoning 0800 171 2193

Download the UNISON application form

Support at work

You have the legal right to be accompanied by a trade union representative if you have a workplace grievance or if you are facing disciplinary action.

Legal compensation

Unions won over £321 million in legal compensation for their members who were victims of work-related illness and injury in 2000 – an average of more than £6,000 per case.
A majority of unions also offer legal help in non-work related cases, such as claiming social security benefits, representation in road traffic cases, and free wills to members and their families.

Better pay – especially for ethnic minority and
women workers

Trade union collective bargaining produces a better rate of pay for workers.
Average earnings are around eight per cent higher in workplaces where the bulk of the workforce is covered by collective bargaining.
Black and Asian trade unionists earn almost a third more than their non-union counterparts. For white workers the union premium is 10 per cent.


Workplaces are more likely to have a pension scheme where a trade union is recognised for the purposes of collective bargaining.

Job security

Trade union members are only half as likely to be sacked as non-members and if they do they get better compensation.

Health and safety

Studies found there was a 50 per cent reduction in major injuries in workplaces where there were trade union safety reps and consultation. In trade-unionised workplaces there was a 33 per cent improvement in health and safety. Workers in unionised workplaces are also more likely to receive higher sick pay.


Workers in unionised workplaces are more likely to receive job-related training than those in non-unionised workplaces.

Annual leave

The average trade union member in the UK gets 29 days’ annual leave a year compared with 23 days for non-union members.

Equal opportunities and family-friendly working

Workplaces with union recognition are 20 per cent more likely to have an equal opportunities policy than workplaces where no union is recognised and 12 per cent more likely to have parental leave policies in place.
Women in unionised workplaces are better off in terms of career opportunities, flexible working arrangements and support for family responsibilities.

Other membership benefits

Unions offer additional fringe membership benefits such as cheaper mortgages and insurance, holiday clubs, shopping discounts, credit cards, discounted car breakdown membership and so on.

The Public Service Union