About Trades Councils

How Trades Union Councils work

Trades Union Councils consist of trade unions or branches of trade unions which meet within the area covered by that council, or which have members working or living in the area.

A union branch will normally affiliate to the trades union council in the area in which it meets. Each branch will then send delegates to the trades union council’s meetings. Each branch pays an affiliation fee. 

Branch delegates elect officers from amongst themselves to represent the views and priorities of the constituent branches and to take responsibility for working for and supporting the policy of Congress and the TUC General Council. This is because trades union councils are registered with the TUC, rather than being entirely independent bodies. The Annual Conference of Trades Union Councils takes place over a May weekend.

Trades Union Councils' Aims

  • To raise public awareness of rights at work and the union role in enforcing those rights
  • To promote organising and recruitment drives to build union membership
  • To support union and community campaigns for dignity and respect in the workplace and beyond

With the threats from government and debates over the future of public services, the trade union voice in the community is as important as ever.

The capacity of trades union councils to provide a local response and to organise trade unionists into coalitions with other progressive forces is crucial. They do this by providing services which keep local trade unionists up to date with developments within the wider trade union movement, and by taking up relevant local industrial and community issues.


Get Active in Your Trades Council

Trades union councils use their unique place in their community to promote a positive vision of trade unions – a democratic force for fairness and progress in the modern workplace in touch with the concerns of trade union members and the community.

For more details about Trades Union Councils, you can read the TUC’s guide, Unions in the Community. You can also see an A-Z list of Trades Union Councils.

To download a copy of the Trades Union Councils logo visit our logo downloads page.

Affiliate to NTUC Today

Please encourage your union to affiliate to Trades Council. You can download the affiliation form here.