Our Work with Trade Unions
Trade unions play a crucial role in society, defending workers’ pay, working conditions, job security and safety, and driving up standards in work.
We were founded with a vision to be the leading legal advisers to the trade union and Labour movement and to stand up for the injured or mistreated. We refused then, and now, to act for insurance companies or employers that are not trade unions giving us a unique perspective and commitment to claimants.
Since our foundation in 1921, Thompsons has taken a central role in fighting alongside trade unions to protect and improve workplace safety standards and employment rights.
Our dedicated trade union lawyers are based in a network of offices across England and Wales, with associated offices in Scotland and Northern Ireland. We map our locations to mirror the footprint of our trade union clients to ensure we combine regional knowledge and insight with specialist legal expertise to support of them and their members both nationally and at grassroots level.
We use our specialist expertise to protect the rights and interests of millions of trade union members across the UK, campaign for justice and equality and also use our affiliations with the global trade union movement to show international solidarity in defence of civil liberties and human rights across the world.
We work with our trade union clients to recruit new members and retain existing members by promoting the benefits of union membership and also ensuring members know how to take advantage of their union’s legal scheme to defend their rights by using the very best in union and legal representation.
Legal support for trade union members
Thompsons is very proud to deliver bespoke packages of specialist legal services to millions of UK trade union members, to support them with free, independent advice and representation on issues which matter most to working people. These include personal injury claims, employment law advice including compromise agreements, criminal and professional misconduct assistance, and services such as conveyancing and wills and probate.
From winning the first industrial disease case in the UK in 1956, the first case in the House of Lords for asbestos-related disease in 1972 and helping to establish the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, our joint work with trade unions has successfully enshrined vital protections into UK law for decades.
During the 1980s, we were responsible for pursuing court cases that led to the National Deafness Scheme and compensation for hundreds of thousands of workers. In the 1990s, we won landmark cases which established equal pay for work of equal value. We won more in average compensation for miners and their families from the VWF and CBE schemes than any other firm during the 2000s, having fought and won the test cases which established those schemes in 1998. By 2014, we established that normal pay including bonuses and overtime should be paid when calculating holiday pay and in 2016, we won over £10million in compensation for blacklisted Unite the Union members.
Our history of representing trade union members is second to none and we are proud of all that we have achieved, and continue to achieve, working in partnership with our valued trade union clients.
Praise from the Legal 500
Thompsons Solicitors LLP has a strong reputation for acting for trade unions, and, according to one client, is the 'go-to firm for almost every trade union'. The firm acts exclusively for claimants, which include some of the largest and most prolific trade unions in the country. A history of winning landmark cases is another notable feature of the practice, which is led by discrimination law specialist Rakesh Patel. Also of note is associate Brian Wilson, who recently handled a number of claims for detriment and dismissal due to whistleblowing.