UNISON support for new members: what can you expect?

We’d like to clarify the level of support new members of the union can receive.

Once you join us, for the first four weeks of your membership you are only permitted one session of advice, up to a maximum of 30 minutes in length, of either telephone or email advice on any issue of concern. After four weeks, you’re entitled to the full support available to any member of the union, up to and including full representation and legal advice (unless for a ‘pre-existing issue’ – see below).

The same ‘one session/max 30 minute’ service rule applies to new members who join with what we call a ‘pre-existing issue’. That is, if you join in the knowledge that something has happened to you, or will happen to you, even after the four week qualifying period has expired if you then subsequently seek the union’s support to deal with a pre-existing issue it will be limited to one short advice session.

Why do we restrict early support in this way?

Unfortunately, we’ve had several cases brought to our attention involving new members, where we have given a higher level of early support due to the nature and complexity of the issues they raised.

After our intervention, and once those issues had been resolved, some of those members immediately left the union, having got the result they wanted. We believe this is an unacceptable approach to union membership, so the Branch Committee has changed the way we handle new members.

Union membership is not something you can dip in and out of when events at work happen which you need advice and support on. The union provides a huge range of membership benefits and makes a big difference to every aspect of your working life due to the work we do with employers negotiating on your behalf. Don’t wait for a problem – join today.