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What's a union and why
should I join one?

Find out a little more about trade unions, why you should choose Accord, and what we offer.

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Learn more about unions What can Accord do for you?
Why you should join a union...

What's a trade union?

A trade union is a group of employees who join together to collectively improve their working lives and terms of conditions of employment. There's a bit more to it than that, but this is the essence of who we are - people like you!

Typically, a union provides a collective platform to negotiate better pay and conditions and provide support services for members. Not all unions operate the same way, for example some unions are involved in industry-wide or political campaigning or seeking improvements to public services.

6.4 million workers in the UK belong to a trade union. Union members work in many different industrial sectors including retail and financial services.

Most trade unions are independent of employers but may work closely with a single or multiple employers.

The benefit of unions
Why you should join a union...

What's the benefit of being a union member?

There are some benefits of having a unionised workforce. Let's take a closer look at some of them:

Higher pay, better work benefits

Higher pay, better work benefits

Working people standing together and collectively negotiating with employers means that union members generally get:

  • higher rates of pay and annual pay rises
  • better sick pay
  • more holidays
  • improved access to flexible working arrangements
  • plus, many other policy provisions improved beyond legal minimum requirements like maternity, paternity and adoption pay and leave

This is because they negotiate with employers, rather than leaving it to managers to decide.

Being treated with dignity & respect

Being treated with dignity & respect

Unions stand up for your right to work in an environment free from discrimination and to ensure you're treated with dignity and respect.

They push employers to make workplaces more inclusive for women, LGBT+ workers, black and minority ethnic workers, older workers, and disabled workers by negotiating progressive policies. Where there’s a strong trade union, employees are far less likely to face problems at work while pregnant, on maternity leave or when they return to work.

Safer & healthier working life

Safer & healthier working life

Unions tackle the causes of ill health at work, not just the symptoms. That means lower accident and injury rates, less stress and better understanding and support for those with mental health problems. Every year, unions collectively train 10,000 workers in health & safety.

Workplaces are safer where there's a strong union presence - you only need to look at the responses of unionised workplaces during the Covid-19 pandemic. Trained reps spot unsafe working practices and cut accident rates. That’s why workplaces with union representation have significantly lower injury rates. That's a fact.

Support at work

Support at work

If you run into problems at work, your union has your back. Every year, unions support thousands of members who run into problems at work - from smaller issues like getting holiday approved, to the significant things like facing disciplinary action. Unions make sure you're treated fairly – without you having to worry about paying for legal support. Whether the problem is with employment contracts, harassment, redundancy, pensions or discrimination - your union will be there to help you.

Now you know a bit about trade unions generally, it's time to talk about Accord.

What can Accord do for you?
Why you should join a union...

What can Accord do for you?

When you join Accord, you're joining more than just a union - you're joining an extended family with over 22,000 other members! Our members trust us with two main tasks:

Collective representation

Collective representation

For over 40 years, Accord has been achieving improvements for members. All through constructive dialogue with your employer.

We negotiate terms and conditions of employment and continuously campaign for improvements. The most obvious of these negotiations occurs annually. Yes, we're talking about whether or not you get an annual pay rise and how much you'll get. But we do more than talk about pay.

Throughout the year, our team of experienced negotiators talk to your employer about policies and procedures that govern the way you're treated at work. Things like better parental leave and pay policies, how performance is managed and how issues are resolved fairly. We demand first class safety in the workplace - our record and your employer's treatment of workers during the Covid-19 pandemic speaks for itself.

Individual representation

Individual representation

Our dedicated, skilled team of officers and legal advisers are really accessible. They provide individual advice, support and representation at grievance, health wellbeing & attendance, performance, or disciplinary meetings, and are on hand to talk you through any other work-related matter that crops up.

Accord has around 350 trained workplace representatives who complement our professional team, spread across the UK. They're on hand to help out in your workplace when things aren't going so well. Reps are the beating heart of the union, and often the first port of call offering advice, guidance, information and representation.

Our voice is louder and stronger when we join together. That's why workers join a union. And that's why many in Lloyds Banking Group and TSB join Accord.

More about Accord

More about Accord

More about Accord

Accord is a grown-up, modern trade union that believes there’s a right way to achieve results - and that's through constructive relationships with employers and other unions. By keeping the lines of communication open, even when we disagree, we can find a way to make the situation better. 

Accord is an independent union

Being independent means that Accord does not receive funds from employers which would come with restrictive ties on what we can do or say. We're funded through our membership subscription - nothing else. That's an important consideration for members when choosing a union, and it means that we can focus our efforts on supporting members without constraints.

Accord is not politically affiliated

We're not affiliated to any political party and we don't have a political levy. All our membership subscription fees are used by the union to represent our members' interests and provide them with membership benefits and services.

Accord is affiliated to the TUC, the Scottish TUC and the Wales TUC. Through our work with the TUC, we're involved in campaigns and negotiations with the government of the day on matters that affect workers within our recognised employers and beyond. Accord's General Secretary, Ged Nichols, has been elected to the TUC General Council for 20 years and was elected as TUC President for the 2019-2020 term.

Accord is a democratic organisation

Everything we do is centred around the interests of our members and our collective objectives.

Our aims are incorporated into the rules that govern us and explain how the funds we receive can be spent. A primary aim for the union is to protect, promote and represent the interests of our members.

To do this, we have agreed with employers the matters on which we consult and negotiate. Communication and the collation of feedback from members underpins this.

The union also seeks to promote equality in all our work. We actively oppose all forms of harassment, prejudice and unfair discrimination.

First class support when you need it

First class support when you need it

There are many ways that we support our members:

  • Our dedicated, skilled team of officers and legal advisors are only a contact away. They provide individual representation for members during formal procedures such as at grievance, health wellbeing & attendance, performance, or disciplinary meetings, and are on hand to provide assistance with any other work-related matter that crops up.
  • We have around 350 trained workplace representatives who complement our professional team, spread right across the UK. They're on hand to help you out in your workplace when things aren't going so well. Reps are the beating heart of the union, and often the first port of call offering advice, guidance, information and representation.
  • We've built a catalogue of useful in-depth guidance on our website, covering policies topics such as disciplinary, grievance and health & wellbeing, as well as guidance on menopause and financial wellbeing.
  • Our help centre provides self-help answers at your fingertips covering a broad range of topics about union membership, our benefits, employer specific policies and guidance - plus more.

How to access support

There are many ways that we can support you, and it's easy to get in touch with us:

  • Access our help centre through our website.
  • Check out our guidance centre available through the website.
  • For simple support queries or membership questions, chat to us using our online chat facility (available Monday-Thursday 08:30-17:30 & Friday 08:30-17:00). Out of these hours, the chat function will allow you to leave us a message which we'll respond to via email.
  • If you haven't got much time or your can wait for a response, you can use the quick contact form at the bottom of any page on the website.
  • For more general or urgent queries, we operate a helpline Monday-Thursday 08:30-17:30 & Friday 08:30-17:00. Outside of these hours, we operate a 24hr emergency helpline for issues that can't wait until the next working day. You can call the helpline on: 0118 934 1808.
  • Been invited to a meeting? Complete a representation request form.
  • If you need support at work, find someone in your area to support you.

Membership benefits

Additional membership benefits

There are many additional benefits that come with your Accord union membership which provide you extra value for your money. Here's a list of the membership benefits and links to get further information.

Private healthcare cashback

One of our most popular benefits - Accord members whose employer provides private healthcare, regardless of grade, can claim 50% of the excess on their policy. For most of our members that's £75 cashback in any rolling 12 months’ period. Full terms apply.

 Find out about healthcare cashback

Accord travel club

The Accord travel club is operated by Benchmark Travel, no other travel company has the same incentive to offer you the exclusive member discounts and levels of service that we do. It's a free benefit as part of your membership with Accord. What's more, your family can use this service, and you can even share discounts with your friends if you're travelling with them.

Learn about the benefits of the Accord Travel Club, including who can use this service, what the travel club can do for you and how they can save you money on your perfect getaway.

 Find out about the travel club

Legal services

Experts you can trust, on hand when you need them. All union members and immediate families are entitled to use the legal services - including free, confidential legal advice and personal injury claims. The advice is completely confidential, free and easily accessible.

Learn more about the legal services that Accord offers, including the details you need to use these services. We use three leading legal providers across the UK - Slater & Gordon in England & Wales, Dallas McMillan in Scotland, and Francis Hanna & Co in Northern Ireland.

 Find out about legal services

Will writing

Members and immediate families can benefit from a free online Will writing service as well as discounts and expert legal advice on more complex Wills.

Learn more about the will writing services, including the details you need to access this service and the contacts for the legal provider in your area.

 Find out about will writing

Commission cashback

Taking out a mortgage, life insurance, critical illness or income protection policy and fancy some extra cash? Our brokers can find you competitively priced policies and the best bit... they'll give you back a lump sum as cashback. The average pay outs are: £430 for insurance, £870 for equity release, £500 for mortgage reviews. The commission cashback scheme is provided by two brokers: Lifelink and K&M Financial Advisors Ltd.

Learn more about the products that are available through our brokers and the contact details you'll need to help you save money.

 Find out about commission cashback

Lifelong learning fund

The Lifelong Learning Fund provides support to members who want to learn new skills, from flower arranging to a master’s degree – you can apply for a grant whatever you fancy doing on your self-development journey. The fund will provide grants of up to 50% of the cost of courses and training materials, up to a maximum of £500. Terms apply.

Learn more about the learning fund and how to submit an application.

 Find out about lifelong learning

Subscription draw

Join the Accord subscription draw by logging into your Accord profile and updating your payment subscription to include tickets in the draw. Every month the Subscription draw makes a lucky jackpot winner £5,000 better off. Runners up each get £250. But you’ve got to be in it to win it!

Learn more about the subscription draw including further details on the prizes, quotes from past winners, and all the important details you need to sign-up or change your entries in the draw. 

 Find out about the Subscription draw

Free subs whilst on maternity / parental leave

Accord members who are due to go on maternity, adoption, or shared parental leave may be entitled to a subscription free period of up to 12 months. What's more, you'll be able to use our services and the member benefits whilst on leave.

 Find out about the free subscription eligibility

How much does it cost?

How much does it cost?

Accord membership is excellent value for money, starting from as little as £5.25 per month. Subscription is via monthly direct debit at the following rates:

Subscriptions per month



For members who work full time


For members working full time, but who are agency staff or on a short-term contract. Or for retired members.


For members who work part-time (16-34 hours per week)


For members who work under 16 hours per week


For members under the age 21

Can Accord represent me?

Can Accord represent me?

Yes, if you work for one of the following employers:

  • Lloyds Banking Group
  • TSB
  • Schroders Personal Wealth
  • Communisis
  • Diligenta
  • E.Surv
  • Sainsbury's Bank
  • Union Insurance
  • Utmost

If you don't work for one of the employers listed above and you're an existing Accord member (through associate membership), you're also covered.

I have an existing issue, can I still join?

I have an existing issue, can I still join?

Of course you can, but bear in mind we can only offer new members who join with an existing issue telephone advice - we can’t offer representation for that particular issue.

If anything new arises during your membership, you'll be entitled to full support and representation, as long as you’re a fully paid member.

Join us online now! More frequently asked questions

What our members say...

I'm an Accord member because knowing I have counsel and the listening ear of a rep, regardless how big or small my concern, gives me the backing I need when times are challenging.

Hayley Wellavise

Join us online today!

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