Trade unions

A trade union is an association of workers in a particular industry or sector, designed to protect the rights, interests and working conditions of employees. Large trade unions in the UK include the TUC, Unite, Unison, the GMB and Usdaw.

Trade unions can receive recognition, or employers can derecognise trade unions. Employment laws protecting employees taking industrial action, such as taking part in strikes or picketing, are contained in the Employment Rights Act 1996 and Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.


CWU members protest outside the High Court yesterday Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/PA Images

Royal Mail wins injunction to stop 48-hour strike

Royal Mail has won a High Court injunction preventing next week’s planned 48-hour strike by postal workers.
The proposed strike,...

Junior doctors strike

Will Trade Union Act minimise strikes in ‘important public services’?

25 Sep 2017

The Trade Union Act introduced rules on balloting for industrial action in important public services that set the bar high...

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'Gig economy' cases on employment status, such as the recent example of Addison Lee, could increase Richard Gardner/REX/Shutterstock

Five tribunal claims that will increase in post-fees era

30 Aug 2017

Following last month’s decision of the Supreme Court declaring that employment tribunal fees were unlawful, the number of tribunal claims...

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reaction

Good work or bad? Reaction to the Taylor Review

11 Jul 2017

Any much-anticipated report is likely to divide opinion, and the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices is no different. Rob...

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Eurostar staff picketing outside London St Pancras station in 2016. Will new picketing laws lead to  new forms of industrial action? Tolga Akmen/LNP/REX/Shutterstock

What do the new picketing laws mean in practice for employers?

31 May 2017

New picketing laws came into force in March designed to prevent trade unions adopting intimidating tactics during industrial action. Nick...

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn announces the party's election manifesto. Could his huge programme of employment law reform be achieved while simultaneously negotiating Brexit?  Photo: Peter MacDiarmid/REX/Shutterstock

General election 2017: which party will shake up employment law the most?

30 May 2017

With the general election approaching, consultant editor at XpertHR Darren Newman examines the Labour and Conservative manifestos to see where...

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Labour manifesto 2017: what employers need to know

17 May 2017

The Labour Party’s official manifesto has been released today and includes some of the most radical changes to employment legislation...

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Government consults on new trade union fines

10 Apr 2017

Trade unions are facing fines of up to £20,000 for breaking governance rules, under plans being consulted on by the...

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Steve Hedley, senior assistant general secretary of the RMT union at a protest in November 2016 against Southern Rail's plans to scrap guards on trains. Will new laws prevent strikes like this? Rob Pinney/LNP/REX/Shutterstock

Trade Union Act 2016: employers should be aware of key changes

7 Apr 2017

The Trade Union Act 2016 is now law, but will it prevent strikes like those in recent months by staff...

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Photo: Photofusion/REX/Shutterstock.

Trade union balloting rules take effect on 1 March

17 Feb 2017

New Regulations confirm that the Trade Union Act 2016 rules on strike votes, picketing and union dues will take effect...

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Restaurant and pub waiters in insecure work has risen 128% in five years, according to the TUCPT-VS/ScottishViewpoint/REX/Shutterstock

Insecure work up 27% in five years says TUC

7 Feb 2017

The number of people working without guaranteed hours or baseline employment rights has grown by 660,000 (27%) over the past...

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brexit-map

Theresa May’s Brexit speech: what will it mean for employment?

18 Jan 2017

Following Theresa May’s speech laying out the UK’s objectives for its exit from the EU, we round up the reaction...

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Southern station staff help commuters during an RMT strike last weekGuy Bell/REX/Shutterstock

50 MPs call for tougher strike laws to end Southern Rail “misery”

16 Jan 2017

Fifty Conservative MPs have demanded tougher strike laws be introduced to stop the “widespread misery” suffered by Southern Rail commuters...

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Wincanton drivers deliver goods to Argos storesTerry Harris/REX/Shutterstock

Argos drivers’ strike over holiday pay and overtime suspended

15 Dec 2016

Drivers who work for logistics firm Wincanton at Argos’s distribution centre near Burton upon Trent have called off strike action...

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Industrial action on the railways is included in the new RegulationsTolga Akmen/LNP/REX/Shutterstock

Trade Union Act 2016: Draft rules on public service industrial action unveiled

7 Dec 2016

The Government has published draft rules defining which public services are deemed “important” to require a 40% strike vote to...

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