As a student, can I join a trade union?

Yes, everyone has the right to join a union if they want. The law gives you freedom of choice to join a union or not, and protects you against discrimination on those grounds.

This means that it would be unlawful to treat you less favourably on account of your union membership, or non-membership, in any of the following circumstances:

  • when you are applying for employment;
  • during your employment, e.g. in relation to promotion or training courses; or
  • on the termination of employment (including selection for redundancy).

Dismissal relating to union membership, or non-membership, is an automatically unfair dismissal.

Some unions have special lower rates for student members, or for part-timers, which can be a big help when you’re not earning a lot from your job. Use our Union Finder to find the most appropriate union for you.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.