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Trade Unions in the Health Service

Browse the list below for profiles and website addresses for these organisations.

Find out about CSP work with other health unions: www.csp.org.uk/workplace

  • British Orthoptic Society (BOS)
    A TUC affiliated trade union and professional body representing orthoptists, with just over 1,500 members. Given the nature of the profession, there may be only one or two members in each workplace.
    British Orthoptic Society
  • British Dietetic Association (BDA)
    A TUC affiliated trade union and professional body representing dieticians, with a total membership of nearly 6,000.
    British Dietetic Association
  • British Medical Association (BMA)
    One of the largest and most influential trade unions in the health sector, representing the interests of both hospital doctors and GPs. In some cases, BMA representatives may take part in local staff side and joint negotiating committees. Where this happens, the BMA can be a powerful ally. However, the BMA reserves the right to enter into negotiations on behalf of its members outside of the established negotiating structures. Where this happens, the BMA will take no part in joint negotiations. The BMA is not affiliated to the TUC.
    British Medical Association
  • Community and District Nursing Association (CDNA)
    A TUC affiliated trade union and professional body representing community and district nurses, with a total membership of nearly 4,000.
    Community and District Nursing Assciation
  • Federation of Clinical Scientists (FCS)
    The FCS is the trade union arm of the Association of Clinical Biochemists, representing members in the clinical scientist professions. FCS is not affiliated to the TUC.
    Federation of Clinical Scientists
  • GMB (originally General Municipal Boilermakers)
    One of the large general trade unions operating in the Health Service, the GMB has over 700,000 members throughout industry but a relatively small NHS membership of around 60,000. In the NHS, the GMB will largely represent ambulance staff, domestic, maintenance and support staff, although the white collar branch of the GMB ("Commercial Services Section") will also represent white collar office staff. The GMB is TUC affiliated.
    GMB
  • Royal College of Midwives (RCM)
    The trade union and professional body representing midwives. The RCM has a membership of around 38,000 and is not affiliated to the TUC.
    Royal College of Midwives
  • Royal College of Nursing (RCN)
    Although not TUC affiliated, the RCN is one of the strongest and most influential trade unions and professional bodies in the health sector. The RCN represents qualified nurses and has recently extended their membership to non-qualified grades of nurses as well. The RCN has a membership of 370,000.
    Royal College of Nursing
  • Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists (SCP)
    The TUC affiliated trade union and professional body for chiropodists and podiatrists, with a total membership of 8,000.
    Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists
  • Society of Radiographers (SOR)
    The Society of Radiographers is the trade union and professional body for radiographers in the NHS. It is TUC affiliated and has a total membership of just under 18,000.
    Society of Radiographers
  • Unite
    Unite is the trade union that resulted from the merger of Amicus and TGWU. In the NHS, the union represents speech and language therapists, MLSOs, laboratory staff, hospital physicists, art, music and drama therapists, health visitors (CPHVA) - although in Scotland they are represented by UNISON - and domestic and maintenance staff - although the white-collar section (ACTS) will also represent some administrative and office staff. It is TUC affiliated.
    Unite
  • Union of Construction Allied Trades and Technicians (UCATT)
    Although a large, TUC affiliated trade union with a total of 112,000 members in the construction industry, UCATT only has small numbers of members in the NHS. These will be concentrated in the works or maintenance departments.
    Union of Construction Allied Trades and Technicians
  • UNISON
    UNISON has nearly 1.3 million members. Although UNISON members work in many different industries, the two main sectors are health and local government. In terms of the NHS, UNISON will have members in most professions and occupations. In particular, UNISON represents occupational therapists, as they have a contract with Unison to provide industrial relations services for the BAOT, nurses (both registered and non-registered nurses) and related grade staff such as support workers and technical instructors (those who are not in CSP membership). UNISON is TUC affiliated.
    UNISON
  • The Alliance
    The Alliance is a trade union grouping made up of the following organisations:
    • British Dietetic Association
    • British Orthoptic Society
    • Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
    • Community and District Nursing Association
    • Federation of Clinical Scientists
    • Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists
    • Society of Radiographers

    The purpose of the Alliance is to provide a structure in which the above organisations can work together collaboratively for the benefit of all.

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Last revised on

27 September 2013
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