Information and advice on the benefits of joining a trade union

Blog10 - Information and advice on the benefits of joining a trade union

What is a trade union?

A trade union is usually made up of fellow employees and or workers/employees from other companies with a similar function or trades.  The members make up the organization which looks after the rights and interests of its members.

What is the prime function of a trade union?

  • A union representative is appointed to accompany a fellow member to disciplinary hearings, tribunals and grievance meetings
  • They help member discuss various issues and concerns that the employee(s) may have with their employer
  • Unions help to negotiate various terms and conditions, pay structures, etc. with corporations on behalf of the corporation’s employees.
  • They usually discuss and regulate the terms of large-scale redundancies, etc.

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Finding and joining a trade union

  • You can use various tools and searches to find a trade union that best suits your needs
  • You can speak to other employees at your place of work to find out various unions
  • You will be charged a membership fee which goes towards financing the work done by the union which is usually run by volunteers. The price depends on how the union has structured their fee payments.
  • You can pay by various means, this can be taken off your salary by your employer for the union, direct debit, cash or cheque. Once again payment methods are dependent on the terms of the union.
  • Trade unions are subject to fair terms and conditions acts. If you feel you no longer require a union or that you cannot afford the fees you are entitled to cancel the membership as per contractual agreements.

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Your trade union membership/employment rights

  • You have the right to either join a union or not, it cannot be forced on you or withheld from you
  • It is your right to either stay with the union, leave the union and or join another union of your choice
  • You are under no obligation to join the trade union that is the preferred one of the company you work for.
  • You may belong to more than one union
  • An employer or employment agency is by no means allowed to insist that a person join a union of their choice or force an employee to leave a trade union of their choice
  • A person cannot be chosen by an employer for redundancy or dismissal based on the trade union the employee chooses to be a member of. Or for any union activities, the employee wishes to partake in.
  • An employer or fellow employee may not treat an employee unfairly due to their chosen union or for leaving a union.


It is the employees right to be a member of a union it is also at their sole discretion to which union they wish to belong.

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