From education to employment

Trade union official



K1: Appreciation of the overall contribution, historical context and impact that the Trade Union movement has had on society in general, including in particular employment law, workers rights, equal and fair pay, economic growth, diversity and inclusion. Back to Duty

K2: The distinctive role and overall purpose of their own Trade Union. The democratic structures, rules and processes of their own union, together with sectoral and industrial knowledge and how this relates to the workplace setting, together with understanding of political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal (PESTEL) contexts in which their union operates. Back to Duty

K3: Who potential stakeholders and target audiences are in the union context. How to analyse organisations and identify relationships between stakeholders in terms of power and influence. The context of service user in the wider community and the potential leverage that the community has on Trade Union objectives. Back to Duty

K4: The processes that must be followed in order to deliver evidence based research, how to identify and use existing research, how to commission additional internal/external research and how to apply this to own work. Back to Duty

K5: The principles of project management and the project planning tools available. Knows how a campaign moves through its life cycle from research and planning to delivery and evaluation. The systems, tools and processes used in the role. Back to Duty

K6: How communication is used to support recruitment, retention and delivering value for members. Modern communication techniques that have most impact in achieving the Trade Union’s strategic objectives and how these fit within a campaign plan. The principles and application of campaigning and the range of effective potential communication methods, taking the audience and message into account. How to gather data and measure impact. Back to Duty

K7: Why members join a Trade Union and the trends that influence recruitment. The workplace and social realities and context of existing and potential members and what constitutes a good ‘member’ experience. The main challenges and motivations of existing members and the internal and external factors that are impacting on them and the trends influencing retrieval and retention of members Back to Duty

K8: The importance of growth and retention for Trade Union sustainability and power. The key benefits, rights and responsibilities of Trade Union membership – statutory, practical and ideological. Back to Duty

K9: The legislative framework around the operations of Trade Unions, employment law, Equality legislation, ACAS codes of practice and health and safety law, and how each of these apply in the workplace. The appropriate application of organisational polices and statutory provisions (such as employee code of conduct and relevant policies concerning information technology and data governance/protection) and how other relevant legislation applies to the employment situation and/or the role of trade unions. Back to Duty

K10: How to select different education methods (including formal and informal) appropriate to the membership in order to create self-sustaining trade union workplaces. Access routes, where to signpost members and how to source funding. Own Trade Union learning agenda, policy and landscape. Back to Duty

K11: The core principles, practices and methodologies of organising trade union workplaces and own union’s approach to organising. Back to Duty

K12: The Trade Union equality agenda, equality campaigning and own union’s approach and their practical application. The techniques available to address equality issues in the workplace and beyond. Back to Duty

K13: The practical application of relevant legislation and organising/leverage opportunities related to health and safety in the workplace. Back to Duty

K14: The union learning agenda and organising opportunities related to Lifelong Learning for members and potential members. Back to Duty


S1: Critically apply knowledge of the industrial social and sectoral history of the Trade Union movement to inform promotion of the purpose and benefits of Trade Unionism to a range of audiences and stakeholders. Back to Duty

S2: Create effective membership structures across the workplaces within their responsibility that are reflective of Trade Union inclusive practice and also the membership profile. Ensures that membership structures are designed with regard to PESTEL analysis, maximising the potential for the structure to flourish. Back to Duty

S3: Identifies, builds and maintains effective relationships in order to create a successful union presence. Builds rapport where needed. Recognises all potential stakeholders and target audiences relevant to their membership structures, campaigns, and wider Trade Union agendas. Identifies the key stakeholder power and influence relationships and uses this to best effect in advancing their objectives. Utilise leverage that the community has on Trade Union objectives. Back to Duty

S4: Identifies and utilises a wide range of data and information that will inform own decision-making and influence others, in particular relating to campaign strategies. Selects appropriate research approaches in order to source and interrogate information. Back to Duty

S5: Selects appropriate project tools and implements these effectively to the entire lifecycle of a project or campaign, from planning to delivery and evaluation. Sets timeframes, tasks, objectives and evaluates. Back to Duty

S6: Actively listens to the concerns of members. Targets messages and presents both fact based evidence and persuasive arguments in ways that are tailored to their audience and can be clearly understood in order to progress a Trade Union issue. Applies judgement to select the most effective communication/campaigning and evaluation methods and deploys effectively. Presents the key objectives of a campaign while managing expectations of members. Communicates persuasively and with conviction. Recognises discrepancies and gaps in information and uses a range of questioning techniques to clarify and extract as much detail as possible. Back to Duty

S7: Analyses membership data to assess, develop and enact retention and recruitment strategies. Uses effective problem solving techniques to make well-informed judgements/decisions. Uses information from a range of sources to determine the appropriate course of action. Back to Duty

S8: Applies appropriate recruitment techniques and articulates the value of membership. Overcomes challenges to joining in order to ‘close the deal’, when appealing directly to potential new members or when seeking to maximise the retention of existing members. Empowers others to recruit new members and retain existing members. Back to Duty

S9: Maximising the potential for success by identifying, applying and positioning legislation, codes of practice and policies in a variety of situations including union recognition, collective bargaining, individual representation, and other areas. Implement systems to confidently advise and support members as well as protect own union (for instance from risk of litigation). Back to Duty

S10: Delivers informal education and other learning opportunities that meet Trade Union objectives, choosing an appropriate development method tailored to the audience. This includes, but is not limited to, developing members to become representatives in their workplaces, maximising Trade Union presence and autonomy within the workplace setting. Back to Duty

S11: Adopts an appropriate leadership style in order to motivate, unify and strengthen Trade Union membership and self-sustaining workplaces within own jurisdiction. Manages setbacks whilst maintaining unity with members. Applies democratic principles in line with own Trade Union rulebook. Back to Duty

S12: Design, deliver and evaluate effective and engaging campaigns that win for members and create opportunities for growth. Bring Union policy to life, translating plans into realistic targets, objectives and time frames. Back to Duty

S13: Uses tact and diplomacy appropriately to mediate and reconcile different points of view and resolve problems whilst representing and/or advocating on behalf of members. Articulates the case to best effect by selecting persuasive arguments. Manages conflict and handles dissension calmly and confidently, upholding and maximising the reputation of the Trade Union at all times. Identifies and organises collective responses where appropriate. Explains and defends own point of view; thinks clearly and rapidly under pressure and uncertainty. Back to Duty

S14: Adopts and adapts the appropriate negotiating styles and techniques to maximise the potential for successful bargaining (such as effective preparation, building support for the issue, being the legitimate voice of the workforce, adopting a strategic approach, identifying and applying leverage, knowing when to adapt the negotiating strategy, promoting beneficial change and reaching mutually agreeable solutions). Applies sound judgement in progressing and concluding negotiations with the ability to identify routes to a successful outcome. Back to Duty

S15: Applies sound judgement related to confidentiality, maintaining it where appropriate and ensures that procedures and legislation are followed. Back to Duty

S16: Maximises the organising potential in workplaces within their allocation by applying the principles, practices and methodologies of organising trade union workplaces taking into account own union’s approach and strategy to organising. Ability to organise around a wide range of issues including but not limited to industrial issues, health and safety, and workplace learning. Back to Duty

S17: Identifies and addresses equality issues and opportunities. Develops and applies strategies that progress the Trade Union equality agenda and own union’s equality priorities. Applies campaigning techniques to address inequality in the workplace and beyond. Back to Duty


B1: Demonstrates commitment to the TU ethos. Exercises integrity, impartiality, honesty and diligence. Role models and champions positive behaviours that inspires others. Identifies and brings out and develops leadership skills in self and others. Back to Duty

B2: Has a pro-active approach to team working and inclusivity, shares knowledge and ideas and empower others. Back to Duty

B3: Acts in ways that are just and fair, promotes access and inclusion, adheres to relevant legal requirements and obligations and addresses and challenges inequality where encountered. Back to Duty

B4: Takes responsibility for own development and behaviour by identifying opportunities to improve. Back to Duty

B5: Shows resilience to achieve outcomes and remains motivated to enable others and is not deterred by the complexity or size of tasks. Back to Duty

B6: Actively prepares ahead of tasks. Back to Duty

B7: Challenges employers, stakeholders and members where necessary to achieve outcomes and to embed fairness. Back to Duty

Related Articles