Frequently Asked Questions
How much does IDU membership cost?
£12.50 per month for individuals
£20.00 per month for joint membership covering two people
£32.00 per month for families covering up to four people
What are the benefits of IDU membership?
In a nutshell, top-quality, robust representation and advice.
What is the experience level of IDU Officials?
The union is led by a highly experienced General Secretary who has acted on behalf of people at all levels across a wide variety of employers, over a 30-year career. Whether you are a qualified nurse in the NHS, a Patrol for the AA, a top executive in a professional services firm, a call-centre worker, a domestic assistant, a carer, a mechanic or a national television news presenter (yes, really), we have experience of representing you and getting results. This is not an exhaustive list, so if your job is not in it, don’t worry. The IDU team is made up of people who have come from a range of backgrounds, to ensure we have excellent coverage in terms of types of job or employer. We make it our business to understand the organisations our members are employed in. As we said, in many cases, one of the team will have done your job.
My employer does not recognise trade unions. Can I join the IDU and if I do, what good will being an IDU member do me?
This is often a point of confusion. The fact of the matter is that you have the right to be accompanied and represented by a trade union officer to any formal meeting with your employer in disciplinary and grievance matters and also at any 1:1 formal meetings about potential redundancy. This right applies to all employees, regardless of whether their employer recognises any trade unions. If your employer recognises another union but not the IDU, you still have the same rights to be represented by the IDU in all formal 1:1 meetings.
Does my employer have to know I am an IDU member?
No. You are not required to tell your employer that you are a trade union member. You can pay your fees via direct debit, so there’s no need for the payroll department to know about your membership either. Obviously, if there comes a time when you need representation from the IDU and / or you need us to deal with your employer on your behalf, the fact of your membership will be known at that point. There may, however, be times when you do not need us to accompany you or act on your behalf, but you just need our advice privately in order to deal with a matter with your employer by yourself. We can help you at times like this.
My employer does not welcome trade union involvement. Will I be treated badly if they know I am a trade union member?
In the UK, it is unlawful for any employer to discriminate against an employee on the grounds of trade union membership.
I am a professional. I am uneasy about being a member of a trade union. Why should I join?
See also the answer on managers below. Professionals can face trouble at work just as much as non-professionals. Protecting your livelihood is important – it is far better not to lose it in the first place than find yourself in a position of mounting a challenge after you’ve been dismissed. Remember, if you find yourself facing a disciplinary or grievance hearing or a 1:1 meeting about potential redundancy, if you are not a member of a trade union, you will only be allowed to be accompanied by a colleague. Even if you have the kind of money to hire a lawyer, or you have a friend or a family member who is a lawyer and willing to help you free of charge, this will not help you because your employer does not have to allow you to bring a lawyer to any of its internal proceedings, whether that is a disciplinary hearing, a grievance hearing, an appeal, or a 1:1 meeting about redundancy. There is only a very small minority of cases where you will be allowed a lawyer in internal proceedings. If you are not a trade union member, you’re effectively on your own.
There is a lot of legislation in the UK which protects workers. Why should I need to join a trade union?
The answer to the question above covers some of this. To elaborate, legislation on its own will not protect you. Sadly, many employers will contravene UK law if they think they can get away with it. You need the IDU to ensure your employer acts in accordance with the law – in a nutshell, to ensure you are not unfairly or wrongfully dismissed, or unfairly selected for redundancy. We do more than help you keep your job. We know that preserving a positive relationship with your employer is very important for you - we can also help you to resolve matters constructively with your employer during times of conflict at work.
My employer is a good, fair one. I keep out of trouble, I work hard and I have always had really good reviews. Why do I need the IDU?
Nobody knows what’s around the corner. Many people facing trouble at work or potential job loss have not done anything wrong. Sometimes, people are wrongly accused of serious misconduct. Sometimes people make a serious mistake under pressure and find themselves under investigation. Sometimes your employer has to cut costs and your post is looked at for redundancy. At times like this, you need high-quality advice, representation and support. We provide this.
I am in a managerial job. Is it appropriate to be a trade union member as a manager?
Please read through the answer we gave above regarding professional people. Furthermore, people in managerial positions, particularly senior managers, are often vulnerable to the whims of new owners or Board members. Bluntly, the higher your managerial position, the more likely it is that some day you will be part of a top-level clear out. At the IDU, our officials are highly experienced in representing managers and top people. We are confident and credible when dealing with top executives. If the time ever comes, we can negotiate on your behalf if you are leaving your employer, whatever the circumstances. If necessary, we can mount a challenge on any decisions about your employment, if this is in your best interests. We are also there to give you day to day advice if you need it.
Do the IDU give legal assistance to members?
We have a partnership with Shoosmiths Solicitors. There is a helpline for IDU members. If you are a member and need to access this service, contact the IDU office on 01256 841153.
Who is my first point of contact if I have a problem at work?
This depends on where you work and what your job is. Please go to the section dedicated to your particular employer or sector (and if you cannot see your particular employer or sector, go to ‘Others’) and you will find contact details under the ‘The IDU Team’.