Organisations and unions
A UNISON case study

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Page 1: UNISON

Formed in 1993 when three public sector unions joined together, UNISON is the UK's largest union. The merger created a stronger union voice to work collectively to preserve employees' rights for union members, including the right to belong to a trade union. UNISON has nearly 1.3 million members working in public services Over two thirds are women.  Members work in several different industries including healthcare, education, transport, local government the voluntary sector, and call centres.

UNISON believes that many workplace problems can be resolved by negotiation and agreement, and that there should seldom be a need to resort to industrial action such as striking or working to rule.

Ten reasons for joining a union

In a unionised workplace:

  1. Average earnings are around 8% higher.
  2. The average trade union member receives 29 days annual holiday compared with 23 days for non-unionised workers.
  3. Unionised workplaces have health and safety officers to ensure employers keep workers safe.
  4. In 2000, unions won over £321 million in legal compensation for people who were injured or became ill at work during that year.
  5. Unionised workplaces are 12% more likely to have in place parental policies that are more generous than the statutory minimum.
  6. Workers in unionised workplaces are more likely to receive job-related training.
  7. Workplaces with union recognition are 20% more likely to benefit from an equal opportunities policy.
  8. Trade union members are only half as likely to be dismissed as non-members.
  9. Black and Asian trade union members earn 32% more than their non-unionised colleagues from similar ethnic groupings.
  10. Trade union members can provide and enjoy mutual support where workers are facing exploitation or intimidation for union activity.

UNISON | Organisations and unions