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How to Complain About a Union

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Complaining About Your Union

You can complain to the Certification Officer about a trade union if you’re a member. You might also be able to complain if you’re not a member of a trade union, eg you’re a candidate in an election run by a union.

What You Can Complain About

The make a complaint guidance has a full list of the complaints you can make to the Certification Officer. You can complain if you think the trade union has:

  • broken its own rules, eg. about holding elections or ballots
  • broken laws on running trade unions, eg not holding a proper ballot on a proposed merger of trade unions or not providing access to accounting records
  • You can also complain about trade union funds being used illegally or in a way that breaks the financial rules of the union, known as financial irregularities.
  • You don’t have to be a member of a trade union to complain about financial irregularities.

What You Can't Complain About

You can’t complain about what a union does for you, eg representing you if you’re unfairly dismissed. You should get legal advice instead.

Complain to Your Union First

  • Your trade union will have a complaints procedure. Use this to try and resolve the problem before taking it to the Certification Officer.
  • You can take your complaint further if you’ve been through all the steps in your trade union’s complaints procedure and you’re still not satisfied.

Complain to a Court 

You might be able to take your trade union to court, eg for breach of contract if it breaks its own rules. You should seek legal advice before you do this. You can’t complain to the Certification Officer and the courts about the same problem.

Complain to the Certification Officer 

Make a complaint.

Attend a hearing.

Get a decision.

This content is subject to Crown Copyright

Last Updated: [11/09/2021]