List of trade unions in the United Kingdom

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This is a list of trade unions in the United Kingdom from 2012 formed under UK labour law. The criteria for being an independent trade union, free from employer influence and domination, is set out in the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 section 5. The body which oversees unions, and awards a certificate of independence for the purpose of collective bargaining it the Trades Union Certification Officer.

Independent unions[edit]

The following is a list of independent trade unions, who are solely accountable to their members and free from employer domination as it stood on 31 March 2012.[1]

Name est. Members Description Rules Website
Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen 1880 18,500 ASLEF, for train drivers.
Association of Teachers and Lecturers 1978 120,000 ATL. 2010
Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union 1847 25,000 BFAWU
British Air Line Pilots Association 1935 10,000 BALPA
Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union 1991 26,500 BECTU 2011
Ceramic and Allied Trades Union 1827 9,000 CATU
Communication Workers Union 1995 204,500 The CWU was formed from a merger of the UCW and the NCU. 2012
Community (trade union) 2004 23,000
Community and Youth Workers' Union 1938 4,500
Connect 2010 20,000 Formerly the Society of Telecommunications Executives (STE).
Educational Institute of Scotland 1847 59,000 EIS
EQUITY 1930 For actors.
First Division Association (senior civil servants) 1918 19,000
Fire Brigades Union 1918 44,000 FBU 2011
GMB 1982 615,000 Formed from General, Municipal, Boilermakers and Allied Trade Union, as a general workers' union. It includes the International Union of Sex Workers as a branch. 2011
Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association 1944 HCSA
IWW Universal Label 1917.svg Industrial Workers of the World 1905 IWW current
MUgreylogo15.jpg Musicians' Union (UK) 1893 30,000 MU. 2009
National Association of Probation Officers 1912 9,000 NAPO
NASUWT logo.png National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers 1976 280,000 NASUWT 2009
National Union of Journalists 1907 35,000 NUJ
National Union of Marine, Aviation and Shipping Transport Officers 1985 19,000 NUMAST
National Union of Mineworkers 1945 NUM has very few members, given the dismantling of the industry after the UK miners' strike (1984–1985).
National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers 1990 80,000 RMT was formerly the National Union of Railwaymen and National Union of Seamen, and absorbed the Offshore Industry Liaison Committee . 2010
National Union of Teachers 1870 324,000 NUT was established at a meeting at King's College, London in 1870. 2012
Voice 1970 20,124 Formerly the Professional Association of Teachers, it refuses to take strike action.
Prison Officers Association 1939 37,500 POA
Professional Footballers Association 1907 4,000 PFA
Prospect 2001 100,000 Engineering, scientific, management and professional staff. 2013
Public and Commercial Services Union 1998 250,000 PCS 2012
Royal College of Nursing 1916 400,000 RCN is legally a professional society rather than a trade union.
Society of Chiropodists 1945 8,154 SCP
Society of Radiographers 1920 18,635 SoR
TSSA logo.png Transport Salaried Staffs' Association 1897 32,000 TSSA 2011
Undeb Cenedlaethol Athrawon Cymru 1948 3,879 UCAC means the National Union of Teachers of Wales.
Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians 1971 127,433 UCATT n/a
Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers 1946 426,000 USDAW 2011
UNISON 1993 1,300,000 Formed from merging NALGO, NUPE and COHSE as a union for public services workers. 2012
Unite - the Union 2007 1,500,000 Formed in 2007 by a merger between Amicus and TGWU. Amicus was formerly AEEU and Manufacturing Science and Finance and Graphical, Paper and Media Union and UNIFI (trade union). 2011
University and College Union 2006 120,000 Amalgam of the AUT and NATFHE. 2012
Writers' Guild of Great Britain 1959 WGGB
Trades Union Congress 1868 6,200,000 The TUC is the primary trade union federation for the United Kingdom. 2009

Union confederations[edit]

Other independent unions[edit]

Non-independent unions[edit]

The following is a list of associations from 2012, which are potentially dominated by employers and so do not genuinely represent the interests of their members. They therefore appear on a list kept by the Certification Officer, but have not been approved to have a certificate of independence.

Historical unions[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ See Annual Report of the Certification Officer 2011-2012 (2012) Appendix 1.
  2. ^ home page article

External links[edit]