Why join a union?

As an individual worker your relationship with your employer is not one between equals. By joining with other workers in a union you are much better placed to claim your rights. Your rights at work.

The best way of claiming your rights at work is by joining a union. You will find the unions best suited to your job and industry by clicking on the TUC’s union finder. Some unions affiliate only to the STUC and do not appear on the TUC union finder so you might also wish to refer to the list of our member unions on our links page.

Workers form unions so they can have a voice on the job to improve their lives, those of their families and their communities. In every part of working life unions make a difference.


For comparable jobs, workers in unions are paid around 8% more than non-union workers. You are twice as likely to be in a low paid workforce if you are not in a union.

Job security

Non-union firms sack two and a half times as many workers as those where unions are recognised. When redundancies take place they are more than twice as likely to be compulsory where there is no union.

Health and Safety

Across Scotland a network of over 10,000 union appointed Safety Representatives ensure that health and safety in the workplace is monitored, evaluated and improved. These representatives are highly trained and supported by other union specialists. In non-union workplaces, workers are on their own.

Lifelong learning

Through the Scottish Union Learning Fund unions have access to resources to support their member's personal and professional development. Across Scotland unions are working with employers, universities, colleges and others to provide courses for members, and to get them course fees and time-off to attend.

Fair treatment

Unions also represent members when they have a problem at work. If an employee feels they are being unfairly treated he or she can ask the union representative to help sort out the difficulty with the manager or employer. If the problem cannot be resolved amicably, the matter may go to an industrial tribunal. Members can ask their union to represent them at industrial tribunals. Most cases that go to industrial tribunals are about pay, unfair dismissal, redundancy or discrimination at work.

Unions also offer their members legal representation. Normally this is to help people get financial compensation for work-related injuries or to assist people who have to take their employer to court. You will find details of your legal rights at work by clicking here

Unfortunately some rights don't apply in smaller firms or to some types of workers. Unions are campaigning for this to change. By joining a union you can help everyone get fairness at work.

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