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What is a trade union?

A trade union is a confederation of workers from the same trade, profession or industry, who have joined forces to promote their interests to the employers.

 In companies where the workers are part of a trade union, they are entitled to more benefits (regulated in a so-called collective agreement), and can elect representatives to represent them and to negotiate with the company on their behalf. The trade union provides support when required.

Trade unions are democratic organisations as the leaders are elected by the members.
In Norway, over half of all employees belong to a trade union. It is by joining a trade union that workers in Norway have achieved
• better working conditions
• higher rates of pay
• a good, safe working environment

Countries with weak trade unions also have weak employees. Joining a trade union gives the individual worker security, and contributes to a safer and better working life for everyone else.

Trade unions are not set up in order to make money, but to support members when required. The people who work in the unions are workers themselves, elected by their colleagues to represent them.
You cannot buy insurance once your house has burned down. Equally, you cannot expect a trade union to assist you after you have got into difficulties.
When you join a trade union you become part of a community. If you get into difficulty, the community will help you. If you are fortunate enough to avoid problems, you will be helping to ensure that those who do need help get it. This is solidarity: It works for us as individuals, and for all of us together.