In the run up to, United, We Publish, BookMachine will be featuring a number of posts on employment-related topics such as training, pay, law and flexible working. Here Unite the Union have provided us with answers to their top 15 FAQs.
1. What is UNITE THE UNION?
UNITE THE UNION is an association of workers who join together to provide assistance to themselves in the workplace, with the back-up of experienced full-time officers and the resources of a large professional organisation to provide a wide range of membership services, including legal aid.
2. Can I access the services of UNITE THE UNION from day one?
Yes. You can access the resources and officials as soon as you become a member.
3. What does it cost me to join?
Most members working over 20 hours a week pay £3.25 per week, but to find out if you qualify for a lower rate, click here.
4. Is my membership confidential?
That is your decision. UNITE THE UNION doesn’t notify the employer that you are a member.
5. As I have the legal right to join UNITE THE UNION does this mean I can’t be discriminated against?
UNITE THE UNION has over a million members but trade union discrimination cases are very few indeed.
6. Is there any point in being a union member on my own?
Each member counts separately. An individual often has a particular issue that we can assist with. Almost all issues can be addressed through an informal discussion or a grievance submission.
7. Why does UNITE THE UNION seek to recruit more members in each workplace?
Whether you are a union member or not, an individual cannot change company policy or achieve something just for their own benefit if in doing so, this would have consequences for others. That is why the more workers in a company join Unite the Union, the more influential and effective your union can be.
8. How does the relationship between a member and UNITE THE UNION work?
When it comes to assisting our members, we have the advice, experience and practical help to give them, but first and foremost we have to listen.
You the member decide the course of action, because without your support we are not representing anybody. All of the decision-making bodies of UNITE THE UNION consist of ordinary members who are employed in industry or services.
9. Can UNITE THE UNION assist me in trying to get a pay rise?
Your contract of employment will refer to a pay review. That is not the same as a pay rise. You may be reviewed and get nothing or a really poor increase.
If you are dissatisfied, then joining a union is a way to do something about it.
Part of UNITE THE UNION’s everyday activity is to assist workers to present cases to their employer, whether it is collectively on behalf of the members in the company or on behalf of just one member. If you are underpaid in terms of the market rate, UNITE THE UNION will help compile your claim. If you are underpaid in terms of equal pay, UNITE THE UNION will pursue this with you; legally, if necessary. If you are underpaid compared to others of the same sex as yourself, Unite the Union can assist you in raising this with your employer. If you feel undervalued in terms of your contribution to the company, UNITE THE UNION can assist you promote your case through the company’s pay review process.
10. How does UNITE THE UNION help me if I feel bullied?
UNITE THE UNION first and foremost provides confidential advice and information to its members on what they need to do to stop the bullying. If the bullying/harassment continues, then a union rep can accompany you to meetings with the management.
In the most serious of cases, UNITE THE UNION can activate legal action on the member’s behalf.
11. Does my membership only last for the time I am with my company?
You pay by direct debit and so your work location is not important and your membership continues wherever you work.
12. If I am injured at work, what can UNITE THE UNION do?
The most fundamental role of UNITE THE UNION is to strive to ensure that its members’ time at work is healthy and safe. Many workplaces can be dangerous including office environments, so in the event that an accident occurs, UNITE THE UNION not only seeks compensation for that member (if they are not at fault) but also works to make certain the accident cannot be repeated.
13. Is legal representation free or do I pay extra?
Every member, no matter how long in membership, can get legal advice through UNITE THE UNION.
Legal representation in the form of being assigned solicitors and/or barristers can be dependent upon length of membership. For legal representation, the issue must not have begun before you became a Unite the Union member.
Legal representation, like legal advice, is a service to members that requires no additional payment.
14. What other benefits do I qualify for?
UNITE THE UNION is regularly reviewing and updating its benefits to members. Please click here to be taken to the section of the website where you will find a list of such benefits.
15. What if I am not a member – can I get the service elsewhere?
If you contact a solicitor yourself, they will charge you a fee but cannot attend meetings with your employer.
If you go to a Citizens Advice Bureau or ACAS they will invariably recommend you join a union.
If you go to your HR department, their primary role is to protect the interest of the company.
If you use the internet to research a DIY approach to employment issues then you run the risk of missing something, saying the wrong thing and never finding precisely your actual problem in its specific detail. That can be very costly. If you ask us for help, but if you do not wish to join, we shall politely decline.
– Join us for ‘United, We Publish‘ in London on the 27th October.
For more information and to see the original post visit Unite’s website.