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Your Entitlement to Trade Union Representation

Published 12th April 2024 by GMB EMAS

Understanding Employees’ Rights to Trade Union Representation

Employees often face various challenges in the workplace, ranging from negotiating better conditions and benefits to resolving disputes with management. In such instances, being part of a trade union can provide the necessary support and representation. But when exactly are you entitled to trade union representation, and how does it work? Let’s delve into these critical aspects of labor rights.

What Is Trade Union Representation?

Trade union representation refers to the right of workers to have their interests represented by a trade union, an organised group that supports its members’ work-related concerns. These unions engage in collective bargaining with employers on behalf of their members, aiming to improve working conditions, wages, and benefits. They may also provide legal representation and support during disputes or disciplinary proceedings.

Legal Entitlement to Trade Union Representation

1. Collective Bargaining

Employees are entitled to trade union representation during collective bargaining. This is when a union negotiates with the employer on behalf of its members to establish a collective agreement. Laws in many countries protect the right to collective bargaining, though the specifics can vary.

2. Grievance Procedures

If an employee has a grievance related to their employment, such as disputes over pay or working conditions, they are entitled to have a trade union representative support them through the grievance process.

3. Disciplinary Hearings

During disciplinary hearings, employees have the right to trade union representation. The representative can advise the employee, present their case, and help ensure that the employer follows fair procedures.

4. Specific EMAS Meetings

As an employee of EMAS, you are entitled to trade union representation at very meetings, these include but are not limited to the following;

  • Return to Work Meetings
  • Informal and Formal Sickness Meetings
  • Flexible Working Applications
  • Resolution of Employment Concerns
  • Disciplinary Hearings
  • Plus any other formal meeting with managers across the Trust.

If you are not asked if you would like trade union representation by your manager please raise this with GMB as soon as possible. You can find your closest rep here.

When Are Employees Entitled to Representation?

A. GMB Union Membership
In most cases, employees must be members of a trade union to receive representation.

B. Permissible Activities
The right to representation generally applies to activities that are within the scope of employment relations, such as negotiations over contracts, workplace safety issues, and other related labor-management discussions. However, GMB have an agreement with EMAS for partnership working in many more areas that will benefit our members.

C. During Working Hours
Usually, trade union representation is provided during working hours, especially when dealing with immediate workplace issues. However, certain negotiations or preparations may occur outside of regular working times.

How to Obtain Trade Union Representation

  1. Join the GMB Union: Typically, the first step is to join a trade union that represents workers in your specific industry or occupation. GMB remain one of the largest trade unions in EMAS.
  2. Request Representation: If an issue arises, request the assistance from GMB. This might involve speaking to a shop steward or union officer directly. You can contact us via this page.

Final Takeaway

Trade unions play a vital role in balancing power dynamics between employees and employers. By understanding your entitlement, you can ensure you receive the support you need to address workplace issues effectively. It is crucial for you to be informed about your rights and to actively engage in union activities to foster a fair and equitable working environment.

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