Our Union

We are a specialist union for union workers, union representatives and any worker linked to the UK Labour movement. We are totally independent and member-led.

We are a campaigning union. Campaigning vigorously for maintained pension rights, for inflation-proof pay rises, for gender equality, including the right to self identify and for an end to institutional racism.

We are democratic and listen to the concerns of all members. Every member is encouraged to be active in the UWU and your voice counts.

We don’t compete with any union. Most UWU members are members of more than one union and the UWU will work with any union to support and deliver for our members.

We are focussed primarily on union workplaces without an independent union. However, membership is open to any union worker. Representatives can join as associate members for access to networking and training.

National Executive

General Secretary

Chris Musgrave

Chris is one of the founder members of the UWU and currently serves as General Secretary. Over the past 20 years, Chris has worked as a lay rep, organiser and officer at a local, regional and national level. He brings a significant amount of experience from a range of sectors and unions to his role with the UWU.

Chris passionately believes trade unions should be the change they want to see and has come to understand only a strong independent union can ensure this. 

President

President

This position will be elected in 2021.

National Executive

The following national executive members hold externally facing positions:

Frequently asked questions

<strong>When did the UWU start?</strong>

The union was founded in September 2019 by 3 union officials from different unions. The union was listed with the Certification Officer in March 2020. We are a bona fide trade union committed to advancing our members’ interests.

<strong>Isn’t there already a union for union workers?</strong>

There are a number of unions that take union workers into membership. These unions aren’t truly independent as the UWU is; free from the influences of general secretaries and the usual politics. We are the only union for union workers that is genuinely independent, campaigning and member-led.

<strong>Why is the UWU necessary?</strong>

All workers are entitled to union support and via the union of their choice. In recent years there have been a number of successful union start-ups who offer a fresh and independent approach to trade unionism in the 21st century. Many unions require their staff to be members of the employing union, the UWU was initially created to offer these workers an independent choice. 

<strong>Doesn’t the UWU undermine unions and damage the trade union movement?</strong>

Union workers have the same rights to fair treatment and decent terms and conditions as any other worker. In recent years hard-fought-for terms and conditions of union workers have been under threat. The UWU will work collaboratively with any union employer or sister union to protect and advance union workers’ conditions but will robustly challenge any employer seeking to engage in bad employment practice and/or a race to the bottom. 

<strong>Aren’t you just poaching other union’s members?</strong>

The UWU has a strict non-poaching policy. Unlike other unions, we actively encourage double carding and believe there are significant benefits to being a member of more than one union. 

<strong>What are the benefits of double carding?</strong>

Every union has strengths and weaknesses. Unions have different internal and external politics and priorities on which they campaign. No union is a perfect fit for its members. This is why most UWU members have memberships of other unions in addition to their UWU membership.  

<strong>The UWU isn’t recognised in my workplace, what’s the point in joining?</strong>

Recognition facilitates collective bargaining and this is a key function of a trade union. The UWU is actively seeking joint recognition in all union workplaces but even without recognition the UWU can represent members in individual and collective casework, enter into disputes and engage the employing and recognised unions on matters of interest to our membership. Members can also access our unrivalled training and networking opportunities.  

<strong>What does the UWU stand for?</strong>

The union has a variety of changing and evolving campaigns. Our founding campaigns provide an insight into the values of our union. Our founding campaigns are; ‘Safe Spaces for Women Workers’, ‘End Institutional Racism’ ‘No to Transphobia’ and ‘Protect Pay and Pensions’.  

<strong>Are you affiliated to the Trades Union Congress (TUC) or the Labour Party?</strong>

At the present time, we are not affiliated to either the TUC or the Labour Party. Like most unions, we have democratic processes to determine policy and affiliation. Any UWU member is able to raise a motion for affiliation but so far, members priority has been on industrial issues. 

<strong>How does UWU make decisions?</strong>

We are committed to direct democracy. Each member gets an equal voice and ability to affect change. Our members meet monthly online to debate motions which are put to all members via secure online ballot.   

<strong>What is your involvement with other political parties?</strong>

The UWU is open to working with any political party that is pro-union and shares our values on equality, social justice and advancing workers’ rights. We have informal dialogue with a number of political parties at a local and national level.  

<strong>What is the union’s position on self-organisation?</strong>

Equality is the cornerstone of the trade union movement but unfortunately many trade union employers fall short of the standards they set for their employers. The UWU provides cross union fora organised along protected characteristic lines as safe spaces for members to self organise and build power. 

I<strong>f you’re the union for union workers, which union do your staff belong to?</strong>

Our union doesn’t employ any workers. In true trade union tradition, our members provide their time and talent to the union on a voluntary basis. 

<strong>What’s the point of associate membership?</strong>

Many union reps have career ambitions to take up a paid role in a trade union. There isn’t a clear or an easy route into paid union roles but our associate membership offers workers not directly employed by a trade union access to our training and networking opportunities. 

<strong>What’s at the heart of UWU’s learning offer?</strong>

Building power and sharing skills. Our training is written by senior and experienced trade union workers. Our aim is to provide the gold standard of trade union training completely free to all our members, regardless of status. 

<strong>Is UWU training available externally?</strong>

Yes. We have worked with a number of union and non-union organisations to provide training. There is a cost to this and this varies depending on the individual request.  

<strong>I’ve joined, what support will I get with my workplace issues?</strong>

The UWU will support you with individual and collective workplace issues. As a listed union we are permitted to accompany members’ under the statutory right of accompaniment. We have a network of experienced regional officers, some of whom are retired who will support you to the conclusion of the employer’s internal processes. We also have a panel of three top legal firms and subject to a full merits assessment we will provide representation during early collocation and employment tribunal stages. 

<strong>How can I help the UWU?</strong>

There are many and varied ways to help. You can join the union and get active in your workplace. The most important support you can provide is to recruit for us but we recognise contribution comes in all shapes and sizes. If you would like to help build a strong independent union, contact us for a discussion on our current projects. 


Documents

UWU Rulebook

Expenses claim form

Print at home joining form

Don’t forget that you can join online quickly and easily. Please email forms to mail@unionworkersunion.org

Our registered address is Union Workers’ Union, 3rd Floor, 86-90 Paul Street, London, EC2A 4NE.