Can I join a union if I work for a charity?

Yes. A survey of charity workers calling the TUC’s “Know your rights” hotline found that the main reason for not joining a union was that they work for a charity and didn’t think they could.

This is not the case. Everybody at work in the UK has the right to join a trade union, and it is actually illegal for an employer to dismiss or disadvantage anybody, based on whether or not they are a trade union member.

The main unions for the sector are UNISON, Unite and the GMB. Use workSMART's Union Finder tool to see if there is already a union recognised where you work.

Working in partnership, unions can help underfunded and overstretched voluntary sector personnel departments to attract and keep a high quality workforce through improved conditions, staff participation and communication and training opportunities.

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.