Trade unions are organisations which attempt to improve the pay and working conditions for their members. In return for paying a subscription, members receive a wide range of benefits.
These can be legal, such as financial help with access to a lawyer. Many trade unions offer a range of financial benefits to members such as cheaper deals with mortgages, discounts on holidays and car purchase.
Trade unions exist in a wide range of occupations and professions. A trade union may negotiate with the company over money matters, such as pay and pensions. Often within a workplace, a trade union representative, known as a ‘shop steward’ will act as a ‘go-between’ between worker and management. He/she will try to resolve problems which may arise.
Members can participate in trade union activities by:
Some employers do not recognise trade unions as they feel they are bad for business and may therefore discourage staff from joining a trade union.
Other employers understand that good worker/management relations are important. Trade unions work with employees and management on a daily basis, resolving workplace issues. Trade unions have rights but they also have responsibilities which they must adhere to.