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About Thompsons

Benefits of Union Membership

From our foundation in 1921 we have taken a central role in helping unions to protect the interests of their members. Select one of these links for more information on legal services and information available to you if you are already a member of a trade union.

Trade union officials and trade union members alike are often interested in reading our Labour and European Law Review (LELR).  We also now publish a Weekly LELR and a Health and Safety News twice each year.

We have published a wide range of factsheets on this website which may be of help to trade union members.  The factsheets cover many different areas including information about changing your name, advice on disputes with neighbours or how to challenge a will.  For more information, visit our Factsheets Page.

You can also follow these links for more help if you are looking for advice on making a new will, about how to deal with a compromise agreement or if you are looking for help with conveyancing.

For contact details and links to the union websites, please click the link to Our Union Clients.

Not a union member?

Click on the link for Trade union membership to read more about what trade union legal services are and how to access them.

Tutor in Trade Union Studies at Ruskin College

Ian Manborde is Thompsons' tutor in Trade Union Studies at Riskin College, Oxford, where he co-ordinates the MA in International Labour & Trade Union Studies as well as researching and writing around union organising, vulnerable workers and trade union history.

On behalf of Thompsons, Ian ensures that the firm's profile is maintained at a high level through the use of Thompsons' resources across the College's significant body of work with British trade unions.

Current examples of his portfolio of work also includes:

  • The management in 2010 of a European Commission funded project on alternative dispute resolution mechanisms involving partners in Poland, France and bulgaria.
  • Provision of guidance to the staff union of the European Investment Bank (EIB) who will be renegotiating in 2010 their negotiating and representation protocol with the employer.

Ian writes a blog as part of his role at Ruskin which can be seen on Ian Manborde's blog.

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The work of trade unions

Trade unions help thousands of people at work every year with a wide range of different problems.
Examples of the some common issues in the workplace today include accidents at work, unfair discrimination in the workplace, pension schemes closing and manufacturing / service sector jobs being transferred to overseas locations.

Trade unions are crucial in defending workers' jobs, pay and conditions, acting to improve working conditions. Unionised workplaces are often safer places to be and their employees are often better paid. Workers in unionised workplaces are also more likely to benefit from training and development programmes.

Visit the TUC's Worksmart website for more information.

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Trade union membership

If you are not a member of a trade union you may have questions about what trade union legal services are and how to access them. If our information below does not answer your questions please contact


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Trade union legal services

Trade union legal services are legal services which you become entitled to after you join a trade union. In many cases you will not need to pay for legal services or they will be discounted because they are a benefit of your membership.

For examples of the kinds of legal services that Thompsons offers to trade union members please click on the link. However, you need to remember that each trade union offers different specific legal services.

Before you join a trade union it is always a good idea to find out what specific benefits you are entitled to as a member of that union.

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Accessing trade union legal services

You will need to join a trade union to access trade union legal services.

If your employer formally recognises one trade union, it would be sensible to join that union. If there is no official recognition in place, you could then look to join a trade union which already has members within your workplace.

You will find a list of all the unions that are affiliated to the Trades Union Congress on the TUC website or use the TUC's Worksmart website to find out which union represents your profession / industry and whether your employer recognises unions.

Once you are a trade union member get in touch with your union representative. He or she will be able to give you more guidance about gaining access to legal services through your union.

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Views about trade union membership from union members

At Thompsons Solicitors we hear from many trade union members after we have assisted them with a legal issue through their union scheme and the main feedback we receive is that joining their trade union was the best decision they could have made and that they would recommend joining a trade union to anyone.

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