Your Rights as a UNISON Member

The Right to be a Trade Union Member

Under Section 146 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, employees and workers have the right to belong to a Trade Union and cannot be treated unfairly due to Trade Union Membership or suffer any detriment for taking part in Trade Union activities or seeking advice and representation.  This includes being dismissed, or being unfairly selected for redundancy.

If you feel you have been treated unfairly at work for being a UNISON Member, please get in touch with the Branch as soon as possible, as you might be able to make a claim to an Employment Tribunal, but there are strict time limits of 3 months when lodging a potential claim.

Your employer does not have a right to know which employees and workers belong to a Trade Union and your Trade Union would not contact your employer without your consent.  All communications between the Trade Union and the Member are strictly confidential and protected under GDPR.

The Right to be Accompanied

Under section 10 of the Employment Relations Act 1999, employees and workers have the legal right to be accompanied to any grievance meeting or disciplinary hearing that can result in disciplinary action against them. This action could include a formal warning, demotion or dismissal. The right also applies to appeal hearings, final redundancy meetings and meetings relating to long-term sickness absence where the employee could face dismissal.

The right to be accompanied does not apply to meetings deemed to be outside the formal disciplinary or grievance process, such as informal discussions or initial fact-finding or investigatory meetings – in other words, any meeting where the organisation is trying to gather evidence and learn more about the facts of an incident or issue that have led to the investigation. Trade Union Members have the right to be accompanied by:

  • A colleague
  • An ERA Accredited UNISON Representative (Workplace Steward)
  • An official employed by UNISON.

If the employee or worker requests to bring a UNISON Representative, UNISON does not have to be recognised by the organisation.