The most popular trade unions in the UK

Being a member of a Trade Union used to be the norm for workers up and down the country but that’s not been the case since the 1980s. Trade Unions protect workers from management decisions that lead to longer working hours, less pay and worse working conditions but membership comes at a cost. We’ll have a look at the most popular trade unions in the UK so you can make an informed decision before deciding to join or not.
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Trade Union Conference

The TUC is a federation of trade unions in England and Wales that’s made up of 6.5 million workers. About half of those are members of Unite or UNISON.


With 1.3 million workers, UNISON is one of the nation’s most popular trade unions. Their members are from the public sector and are both full and part time. The vast majority of workers are from local government, the National Health Service and education. Registered nurses, health care assistants, police officers and teachers are some of the professions who take regularly take up UNISON membership. Check out unitetheunion.org for more information.


Unite is another large union. They’re not just based in the UK but a large percentage of their 3 million members work in the UK. If you work in the automotive sector, aerospace, engineering, building and construction, passenger transport industry and a whole host of other seemingly unrelated sectors like health and finance, you can add to Unite’s numbers. You can find out more about this union at unitetheunion.org.


These guys are the third largest in the UK with 617,000 members. They call themselves “Britain’s General Union” because GMB is made up from a collection of smaller unions that have merged over time. As with Unite, GMB offer a union for most sectors so you should check out gmb.org.uk no matter what job you do.

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