Union advice and representation

The following Employment practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Union advice and representation
  • Representation by union in dialogue with employer
  • Legal advice and assistance from union
  • Ability to facilitate binding settlement

Union advice and representation

Membership of a trade union gives an individual worker access to advice and other assistance from the union in a number of work-related contexts.

Representation by union in dialogue with employer

A worker has a right to request to be accompanied by a union representative (either an official employed by the union, or an official certified by the union as appropriately qualified) at any disciplinary and/or grievance hearing with his employer (see Practice Note: The right to be accompanied). Note that this right is not dependent upon the particular union being recognised by the employer concerned, nor upon the worker being a member of the union. However, in practice, a union is unlikely to agree to represent a non-member.

A trade union will also represent its members on a collective basis in dialogue with their employer in various contexts, including, for example, collective redundancies (see Practice Note: Collective redundancy—statutory information and consultation obligations), transfer of undertakings (see Practice Note: TUPE—information and consultation) and negotiations with the employer on matters relating to collective bargaining in respect of which the trade union is recognised by the employer (see Practice Note: Trade union recognition).

Legal advice and assistance from union

A trade union will often provide legal advice, whether formal or informal, to its members. What advice is available to an individual member will depend principally on the

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