List of trade unions in the United Kingdom

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This is a list of trade unions in the United Kingdom formed under UK labour law. The criteria for being an independent trade union, free from employer influence and domination, are 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 is the Trades Union Certification Officer. For the context and history see Trade unions in the United Kingdom.

Union confederations[edit]

Independent unions[edit]

The following is a list of trade unions that are Certificated as independent by the Certification Officer, as at 31 March 2017.[1]

Name G.S. Est. Members Description Const. Affiliation
Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen 1880 18,500 ASLEF TUC, STUC Labour
Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union Ronnie Draper 1847 20,496 BFAWU TUC, Labour
British Air Line Pilots Association 1935 10,000 BALPA TUC
British Medical Association Mark Porter 1832 152,200 BMA
Communication Workers Union Dave Ward 1995 201,900 The CWU was formed from a merger of the UCW and the NCU. 2012[permanent dead link] TUC, STUC Labour
Community 2004 23,000 TUC, STUC, Labour
Educational Institute of Scotland Larry Flanagan 1847 59,000 The EIS represents teachers, college lecturers, instrumental music tutors, head teachers and educational psychologists working in Scotland. TUC, STUC, Labour
Equity 1930 38,197 Actors TUC, STUC
Fire Brigades Union 1918 44,000 FBU 2011 TUC, STUC, Labour
The FDA 1918 19,000 Managers and professionals in the public service TUC, STUC
GMB Tim Roache 1982 613,400 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. 2016 TUC, STUC, Labour
Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association 1944 3,255 HCSA TUC
Industrial Workers of the World 1905 2000 IWW; Britain and Ireland region membership current
Musicians' Union 1893 30,000 MU 2009 TUC, STUC, Labour
National Association of Probation Officers 1912 9,000 NAPO TUC, GFTU
National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers Chris Keates 1976 333,223 NASUWT 2016 TUC, STUC
National Union of Journalists 1907 35,000 NUJ TUC, STUC
National Union of Mineworkers 1945 1,283 NUM has very few members, given the dismantling of the industry after the UK miners' strike (1984–1985). TUC, Labour
National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers Mick Cash 1990 80,000 RMT was formerly the National Union of Railwaymen and National Union of Seamen, and absorbed the Offshore Industry Liaison Committee. 2010 TUC, STUC
National Education Union Kevin Courtney and Dr Mary Bousted 1870 461,950 NEU is the product of the recent merger between NUT and ATL 2012 TUC
Nautilus International 1857 22,000 A cross-border union for maritime professionals. Main offices are in London, Wallasey, Rotterdam and Basel. Previously known as NUMAST in the UK and FWZ in the Netherlands. TUC
The POA: Professional Trades Union for Prison, Correctional and Secure Psychiatric Workers 1939 37,500 POA TUC
Professional Footballers' Association 1907 4,000 PFA TUC, GFTU
Prospect Mike Clancy 2001 118,600 Engineering, scientific, management and professional staff. 2013 TUC, STUC
Public and Commercial Services Union Mark Serwotka 1998 262,800 PCS 2012 TUC, STUC
Royal College of Nursing Donna Kinnair (interim) 1916 432,000 Royal College of Nursing 2012
Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists Steve Jamieson 1945 8,154 SCP TUC
Society of Radiographers 1920 18,635 SoR TUC, STUC
TSSA logo.png Transport Salaried Staffs' Association Manuel Cortes 1897 32,000 TSSA 2011 TUC, STUC, Labour
Undeb Cenedlaethol Athrawon Cymru 1948 3,879 UCAC; National Union of Teachers of Wales TUC
Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers John Hannett 1946 425,700 USDAW 2016 TUC, STUC, Labour
UNISON Dave Prentis 1993 1,301,500 Formed from merging NALGO, NUPE and COHSE as a union for public services workers. 2016 TUC, STUC, Labour
Unite the Union Len McCluskey 2007 1,424,300 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. UCATT merged in 2017. 2015 TUC, STUC, Labour
University and College Union Jo Grady 2006 115,800 UCU; amalgam of the AUT and NATFHE. 2012 TUC
Voice 1970 20,124 Formerly the Professional Association of Teachers, it refuses to take strike action. GFTU
WGGB logo rgb72dpi.jpg Writers' Guild of Great Britain 1959 2,005 WGGB TUC, GFTU

Other independent unions[edit]

Scotland only

Northern Ireland only[2]

Non-independent unions[edit]

The following is a list of trade unions that have not been certificated as independent by the Certification Officer 31 March 2017.[1]

Scotland only

Northern Ireland[2]

Historical unions[edit]

See also[edit]

Key - Asterisk after name = Trade unions known to the Certification Officer but not applying to be included in the list for 31 March 2014



  • E McGaughey, 'Democracy or Oligarchy? Models of Union Governance in the UK, Germany and US' (2017)

External links[edit]