Workers join the CWU to become part of the collective voice of the workforce and to protect, promote and improve Terms and Conditions and the working environment by co-operative working with the employer.


We all live in a fast changing world. Let’s work with companies from a position of strength on Health and Safety, Performance Management, Upgrading Skills and Pay and Planning for a prosperous stable future for all of us.

Do you know about the CWU?

The CWU is here to ensure there is fairness in the workplace, particularly in yours. Contact centres can be inconsistent when it comes to your working day. One day you can be at the top and the next struggling to reach the minimum targets or worrying about your pay between assignments.

Through joining the CWU you will be supporting the drive for:

By joining the CWU you will be joining other contact centre workers. The CWU can advise you of your rights, can represent you if needed, and can offer assistance with any other concerns.

CWU Contact Centre Charter

Contact Centres are well known to be high pressure, low pay working environments. The CWU is striving to address this and improve pay and conditions for our many contact centre members across the country. This Charter sets out a number of principles which the CWU is campaigning for throughout UK contact centres.

Representation, support and advice

The CWU provides individual representation and support for members in the workplace. If you face a problem at work, such as a discipline or grievance or the need for more flexible working, the CWU can offer you advice and we can accompany you in meetings with management.

The CWU offers free legal advice and help with legal aid if you have an accident or if you are treated unfairly at work. A total of £667,563 in financial compensation was won for CWU members via settlements and employment tribunal awards during 2012.

In addition, the CWU holds a 24-hour personal accident insurance scheme for our members, and we offer a range of member services including low cost motor and home insurance, family protection cover and hotel and travel benefits.

The CWU negotiates with employers on pay and working conditions where we have ‘collective bargaining’ rights. Research shows that on average, union members receive higher pay, better sickness and pension benefits, more holiday and more flexible working hours than non-union members. The CWU can seek to achieve many things on your behalf including:

The CWU is organised into local branches across the UK so that you can call on a union representative near you when you need the union’s advice or support.

* Trade Union Membership 2011, Department for Business Innovation and Skills/ONS Labour Force Survey, 2012.

Being part of the CWU gives you the reassurance of being able to check information from a trained union representative, on things like working to reach targets, management style, breaks, annual leave, daily job loads, etc which are common concerns across the Telecoms and Financial Services sector.

One of the ways to improve your working environment is to start organising with other workers. By joining the CWU, you can engage with your colleagues and discuss any issues you have at work and bring them to light.

There are 8,000 young workers across the Telecoms and Financial Services (T&FS) who are members of the CWU. That is a good proportion of our membership and it is time to focus on bringing our young workers into the framework of the CWU. Surveys have shown it is the younger workforce who are getting the poorest terms and conditions and it is time we work together in changing this.

What is a union?

A trade union is an organisation made up from membership. The main goal of the union is to support you in the workplace. There is a myth that trade unions are only relevant if your job is disagreeable – that’s not true. The majority of our members strive to enjoy their job. When possible, we work with the employer to facilitate the needs of our members.

What if there’s no union where I work?

There is always a union present as anybody has the right to join a trade union, regardless of whether their employer acknowledges the union or not. It is your choice. Discrimination against trade union members is illegal in this country.

Why join?

Being a member, you will benefit from a range of discounts and services, such as discount eye care, discount insurance for cars/home/travel, cash savings plan, free legal services, health benefits and so much more. Also, if you were in a situation where you were called into a disciplinary hearing, the union can represent you and has knowledge on issues relating to performance, attendance and general employment law. Additionally, you can contact your local branch for advice on any query you have. Many young CWU members throughout the country do this already.

Want to get involved?

Speak to your local union rep to find out who your branch youth officer is or contact Sara Barnicoat on 07860 404042 or email:

  1. Annual pay rises above the rising cost of living.
  2. Fair pay to reflect skills and responsibility.
  3. Equal pay and opportunity, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation or any other characteristic covered by the Equality Act.
  4. Access to good occupational pension schemes with a meaningful employer contribution.
  5. Access to training and skills development that maximises employability and encourages career progression.
  6. Annual leave entitlement above the statutory minimum, and freedom to take leave to meet family and personal circumstances.
  7. Work life balance in the length of the working week, the pattern of attendance and the provision of family friendly policies.
  8. Equal treatment for agency, contract, temporary and home workers.
  9. High standards of health and safety in all working environments.
  10. Freedom from bullying and harassment and an environment that fosters dignity and respect.
  11. Excellence in management style that inspires workers to achieve their potential and ensures fair and consistent treatment of individuals.
  12. Trade union recognition and rights of representation for all UK telecoms and financial services workers wherever they are employed.
  13. Employer adherence to employment rights including the operation of effective information, consultation, disciplinary and grievance procedures.
  • Provide one-to-one advice on issues in the workplace
  • Share up to date knowledge of employment law
  • Protect from discrimination
  • Advice on flexible working
  • Advice on maternity rights
  • Advice on performance management
  • Supply courses to enhance knowledge and skills (in and out of the workplace)

Women’s activities in the CWU

  • Branch Rep, Women’s officer
  • Union Learning Rep, Health & Safety Rep
  • Regional Organising Committee
  • Women’s Advisory Committee
  • CWU Women’s Conference
  • Union training specifically for women
  • TUC Women’s Conference
  • Branch meetings

Free legal advice and representation

The CWU and GMB have joined forces to create Unionline, the only law firm owned by trade unions.

With Unionline, we aim to provide the very best free legal advice and representation to almost one million members and their families, who will receive 100% of their compensation awards with no deductions. In addition, Unionline also runs a free motor claims service – these are services you will never get on the High Street or by responding to an advert, a real benefit of union membership.

Unionline allows us total control over our members’ claims. This means putting our focus on a reliable one-stop-shop legal service for our members.

For further information on UnionLine visit the CWU web page:

The Agency Regulations were implemented on the 1 October 2011 (England, Scotland & Wales and 5 December in Northern Ireland). These regulations gave new rights to agency workers including equal treatment to the same rate of pay as the permanent employee after a 12 weeks qualifying period. Equal treatment also applies to bonuses, overtime, shift, unsocial and premium payments.

However, within the Agency Regulations there is a particular exemption from equal treatment on pay where an agency worker is on a permanent contract of employment and Paid Between Assignments (PBA).

The CWU believes that this is unfair and we are campaigning to:

For further information and up-to-date campaign details visit the CWU web page:


Download an application form...

You can join the Communication Workers Union by completing one of the downloadable forms below.

Please complete the appropriate form according to the company you work for.

People employed by BT companies

Use this form if you are employed by a BT company. Your CWU subscription will be conveniently paid by deduction from your pay.

People employed by O2

Use this form if you are employed by O2. Your CWU subscription will be conveniently paid by deduction from your pay.

People employed by C&W, Carphone Warehouse, Orange, Virgin Media

People employed by other companies