If you are unsure if you are eligible or want more information about membership- keep reading.
Why you should join
Being part of Unite makes your working life easier:
- Negotiation of your wages and conditions
- Learn about your rights as a worker
- Enforcement of your legal and work rights
- Representation with any work problems
- Legal Advocacy for personal grievances
- Regular visits by a paid organiser to your worksite
- Delegates on your worksite to assist you
- You decide your Employment Agreement
- You vote on major Unite decisions
- You can become a workplace representative
- You vote or can stand for leadership positions
- You can choose to join the Unite Active Members Network and really get involved in helping others
Who can join Unite?
Unite mainly covers workers in the following areas:
- Fast Food Restaurants (Restaurant Brands, McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, Wendys)
- Call Centres
If you work in one of these areas and we already have a collective agreement with your employer then your application will normally be approved.
We may accept members working for employers we do not bargain collectively with. If accepted such members pay the minimum fee of $2 a week but we will not engage in wage bargaining on their behalf and support may be limited to advice by phone or email.
If there already is another union on your worksite you should join them. Unions in New Zealand prefer to expand union coverage rather than compete with each other for the same workers. You can check to see what other unions may cover your industry and occupation at union.org.nz/findyourunion/
If we decline your membership we will either refer you to another union or advise you which other agency may be able to assist you.
How much does it cost?
For most of our members the weekly union fee reflects the reality that their income can vary pay to pay. The fee is 1.1% of your wage with a minimum of $2 a week and a maximum of $6:25 a week. If your pay goes down, so does your union fee.
This means if your pay is:
- Up to $182 per week – the fee is $2 per week
- Between $182 and $545 per week – 1.1% of income
- (eg $300 = $3.30, $400 = $4.40, $500 = $5.50)
- $568 or more – $6:25 per week
Fees are as of 1st April 2016 and are normally deducted from your pay by your employer.
All members receive a discount voucher book annually, access to hundreds of additional discounts using their membership card and free life insurance. Some members receive regular additional benefits (shopping vouchers, movie tickets etc) that we have negotiated with some employers.
Unite’s Terms and Conditions
These are the basic rules we ask members to understand and agree to before joining. The full Union Rules are available to download here.
- You have the right to union representation with any work problem. Try to resolve any matter first. Follow any reasonable request from your union representative.
- When you leave your employer let us know. You can remain a member or become a supporter
- Members wishing to resign need to do so in writing. Union benefits are only for union members and will cease immediately if you resign from Unite.
- Fees are set by members and paid by deduction by your employer or by automatic bank payment.
- To keep fees down email, texts and online information are our main forms of communication. Information is also distributed at worksites.
- Your email and personal information will be used for union authorised purposes only.
- It is illegal for an employer to approach you to leave Unite. Let us know if that happens.
- Whatever the rules are, our guiding principle is that we deal with each other in good faith.
What if I already have a problem with my employer?
When it comes to helping members with individual employment issues (eg disciplinary meetings, rosters etc) the union fee is much like an insurance premium. Members join the union and pay a little each week so when they need professional help they get it without having to worry about paying hourly fees at their time of need.
Just as you can’t insure your car the day after you crash it, the union can’t just accept members who only join when they have a problem. It would be unfair to existing members. This is particularly true if you have been working alongside Unite members for some time but have previously decided not to join the union.
That doesn't necessarily mean we won’t take you as a member and help, but it may mean that we negotiate additional fees for helping with the pre-existing issue. These will be a lot less than paying an employment lawyer and we may allow you to pay them off over time. You will still need to join the union and pay the regular weekly fee as well.
What if I change my mind?
Union membership is voluntary. You can leave the union at any time. We need written notification (email is fine). It may take a few weeks for your deductions to stop as this is controlled by your employer – not us. All union benefits will cease when you resign. If you leave your current job your union fee deductions will stop with your last pay.
Your right to join and be active in a union is strictly protected by law. If you are pressured by anyone not to join or to leave the union you should let us know immediately.
If you think you are eligible to join Unite click here to go to the online application form.
If you would like to print an application form and post it to us instead then click here.