Your right to trade union membership

As an employee you have the right to maintain a full trade union membership, or to not join a trade union even if your workplace has trade union representation. Your employer and fellow workers must not put pressure on you to have a trade union membership if you do not want one.

What are my employment rights?

Under trade union membership law all employees must be treated the same. If you feel that you have perhaps missed out on a promotion or have been passed over for training because of your trade union membership, or because you refused to join a trade union, this is called a ‘detriment’ and is illegal under law.

You also have the right to have a trade union membership with any union you wish that has representation at your place of work. You should not be told which union to join, or have your employment manipulated in any way to make one trade union membership seem more attractive than another.

What can I do if I think my rights have been compromised?

If you feel that your rights have been broken or compromised, you have the right to take your grievance to an employment tribunal. The court will hear your case and make a decision on whether a detriment has taken place. The court may also award compensation. The levels of compensation can vary from case to case.

Any occurrences of a detriment can be serious offences especially if they involve dismissals and discrimination claims. Your trade union membership should include automatic legal representation at your tribunal. If you are not a trade union member, you should always have your own legal representation.

Your solicitor can then speak for you at your tribunal and also negotiate the terms of any compensation payments that the court might award.

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