Get to know the union

“When a group of workers act and speak together, their employer has to listen. That’s how unions make things better at work.” – TUC

If you’re new to trade unions, there may be some unfamiliar terms that you come across when getting involved in the union movement. In this section, we explain what unions do, why and some of the important structures that exist to help us make changes for the better.

What is a trade union?

Trade unions are organisations made up of members who come together to look after their rights and interests at work.

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What are branches?

Branches are the key organising unit in the union. Branches form the basis of representation to other advisory or policy-making bodies in the union structure.

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What are reps?

Representatives (reps) are members who have volunteered to take a more active role in the union. They are crucial in getting members’ views heard at a local and national level.

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What’s the difference between a recognised and non-recognised workplace?

A trade union can support you in a number of different ways. You can get support whether you’re in a recognised or non-recognised workplace.

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How we’re governed

Unions are run by members. In Prospect, we have an elected National Executive Committee (NEC) that is made up of representatives who make key decisions about what and how we deliver for our members.

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