In the UK we all have some rights at work - though too many employers behave as if this is not the case!

However having a right and being able to exercise it without victimisation are different things, and this is where UNISON can make a real difference.  Firstly you have a point of independant confidential advice about what your rights are what you can do to have them recognised. Secondly you can have support in raising  your demands with your employer.

The large employers covered by the branch (NHS employers) have recognition agreements with several trade unions with policies and procedures agreed about how staff will be treated in different circumstances.  These policies cover how to raise a greivance with your employer and how your employer must act if they want to discipline you.  Normallly these policies and procedures form part of your contract, and are often indicated as such on your statement of contract, which employers are obliged to issue you when you start work.

In employers where there is no recognition agreement union members still have a right to representation if their employer's procedures agree this and in specific circumstances - most notably when a person is facing dismissal - the law states that employees have a right to be accompanied, including by a union representative.

One of he most important rights is that of gaining union recognition if enough employees want this.  This is a huge step forward for workplaces where no recognition currently exists.  Such recognition means that union reps will be consulted on what happens in the workplace including the terms and conditions of their members.

The legal right to recogntion can be found here, and it is advisable to get help from the branch if you want to pursue this so you can be fully supported to increase your chances of success.