How To Protect Your Job In One Easy Step

Leading employment law barrister Daniel Barnett has a piece of advice for you.

Listen to the below clip from Daniel’s recent appearance on Nick Ferrari’s LBC radio show.

If any of these apply to you, reading this is essential.

  • You’re worried about job security in the current climate
  • You’re facing completely unrealistic targets
  • Your performance has been criticised
  • You have an important grievance about your treatment by your employer
  • You’re concerned about returning to normal working post Covid-19

Protection at work

Job insecurity, unfair treatment over pay and working conditions, excessive working hours, problems getting time off, discrimination, harassment, bullying: the list of potential problems at work is endless and most people have no one to turn to for help.

Affinity offers its members the advice, support and where necessary the protection they need to get a fair deal at work.

We’ll help you with any work-related problem, guiding you through the minefield that is the modern workplace, ensuring your legal rights are protected and giving practical advice on how you can lift the pressure of the sort of problems that most of us face during our careers. We’ll represent you in any grievance or disciplinary procedures, and if necessary present your case at the Employment Tribunal.

All trade unions offer varying degrees of protection at work but scratch beneath the surface and you’ll find that the protection is usually illusory rather than real.

Most trade unions simply don’t have the resources or expertise to represent all their members who need help. And often, the bigger trade unions are the less they can do to help because their staff are stretched too thinly.

So, these unions are forced to rely on lay representatives, fellow workers who cost nothing, to represent people with problems. This just doesn’t work for some rather obvious reasons.

Lay people may very good administrators, salespeople, care workers or technicians but no matter how committed they are, they are going to be out of their depth dealing with HR professionals who are backed up by the specialist lawyers most companies can afford. It’s an unequal struggle.

But even if they are able to deal with the simpler issues that arise at work, your colleagues’ interests may not be aligned with yours, for example they may be your superiors or they may personally be involved in the issue affecting you.

Affinity is different: whatever the problem, all our members are represented by experienced full-time officials. We work closely with members helping them find solutions to issues and providing legal support where that’s needed and attend any formal meetings presenting the member’s case.

And we get results. Although our major wins on Equal Pay, contracts and equalisation of pensions have grabbed the headlines, every day of the working week we represent members threatened with dismissal or who have serious unresolved grievances, saving their jobs and making their working lives easier.

But to get that support you need to join us before a problem arises. Like any form of insurance, you can’t join when you have a problem.

How we can help

Think of an employment-related problem (big or small) you’ve had that was difficult to resolve. Whatever it was, we’d have helped you deal with it.

You can phone us any time day or night. It doesn’t matter what your problem is, we will be there to give you expert advice.

You’ll speak to one of our professional Advisers who will tell you exactly what to do.

Perhaps it’s a small issue playing on your mind. Or perhaps you just want a bit of reassurance about something. Often, we resolve simple issues for members in a few minutes over the phone.

We do more than any other trade union

We can’t entirely prevent problems at work. But we can make them less likely and we will do more to help and protect you against problems than any other UK trade union.

How?

You may or may not be familiar with how most unions operate.

If you joined another union (not Affinity) and needed someone to represent you in a disciplinary hearing, it’s likely that the best you’d be offered would be representation by a work colleague because solicitors are not allowed to represent employees in disciplinary or grievance meetings.

For most managers that’s simply not an option, so here’s what would happen.

You phone your union and there’s no answer.

When you eventually get through, you find yourself dealing with someone who has no knowledge of employment law and no background in representation. So getting prompt advice isn’t possible and you’re left waiting for the day of the hearing.

Your representative turns up half an hour before the hearing and you have a short chat beforehand – you soon realise that your representative is unable to counter the arguments against you and just doesn’t ‘get’ the issues involved.

The end result is that you’re underprepared and out-gunned by an HR team who have had the time and expertise to prepare their case and the benefit of expensive legal advice.

How do we produce different outcomes?

Well, when you contact us you will be able to get quick, authoritative initial advice. When the pressure’s on that’s critical.

Then in the week or so before the hearing we’ll begin preparing your case in detail and we’ll produce a statement that provides a strong foundation for meeting your employer and deals with any legal issues. If necessary we’ll meet you to refine our approach and we’ll keep in touch.

On the day of the hearing, we’ll be there in plenty of time to go over any last minute points.

Importantly, your representative will present your case and we’ll keep a record of what’s said, so the minutes of the meeting don’t misrepresent you – a common problem!

After the hearing we’ll ensure your employer’s minutes are accurate and we’ll deal with any follow up work that’s needed, including providing any legal advice.

Think you can represent yourself?

Most managers tend to be more self-confident than the norm so it’s natural to think you can sort out your own problems.

It’s not impossible but it’s unlikely.

Remember the old adage, that a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client! You won’t have the expertise and probably you’ll be too close to the issue to see the wood for the trees. Equally important you’re likely to lack the HR/legal knowledge to make the right decisions.

Independence

Affinity is a trade union created to protect people working in any sector. People like you.

We’re not the biggest trade union, but there are 4 things that give us a huge advantage over all other UK unions.

1. We’ve been protecting people at work since 1921 – yes, over 100 years.

2. All our Officials are full-time professionals employed directly by the union. Our Officials have no conflicts of interest. Getting the best outcome for you is their only concern.

3. We’re completely independent. What does this mean for you?

It means we don’t contribute to political parties or other organisations you won’t approve of.

It means we don’t receive money or other subsidies from the very employers with whom we’re supposed to be negotiating.

It means all our money comes from our members’ subscriptions. And we only do what is in our members’ best interests.

4. If we represent you, our officials will be driven by your interests and your interests alone.

Some interesting numbers

Last year we took 27,752​ calls from members.

And supported 2,614 members in formal cases.

92% of our members use our Free Income Protection scheme

96% of our members use our Free Personal Accident scheme

Zero cost membership

Over the last 5 years we’ve saved members using our discounted shopping scheme massive amounts of money, meaning their membership was effectively zero-cost.

One member recently said:

“According to my records, from August 2014 up until August 2019, I have saved £1739.94 (clear of costs), by using this system to buy our food and other goods. A significant amount bearing in mind there are only two of us.

I knew about the scheme for a number of years before starting and have kicked myself for being so slow to join!”

The member was talking about our unique Portfolio Shopping Scheme.

For every pound members spend they receive Bonus Points, which can be used to reduce the cost of their orders.

For example, for every £100 you spend in Sainsbury’s (40 bonus points/£), you’ll save £4. In The White Company (50 bonus points/£) it will be £5 and in Currys (80 bonus points/£) it will be £8!

Participating retailers listed by the Bonus Points earned for every pound spent include:

80:
Currys and PC World (DSG Retail)
Theatre Tokens
Jojo Maman Bebe
Brasserie Blanc (Brasserie Bar Co)
White Brasserie Company (Brasserie Bar Co)
Caffe Nero
National Garden Centres
New Look
Gap
Zizzi
Ask Italian
Arsenal FC
Virgin Experience Days

70:
Hobbycraft
Primark
River Island
TK Maxx
Homesense

60:
Bella Italia (The Restaurant Card)
Belgo (The Restaurant Card)
Cafe Rouge (The Restaurant Card)
Las Iguanas (The Restaurant Card)
Pizza Hut
Pizza Express
National Book Tokens
Costa
Great British Pub
Footlocker
Bella Italia
Next
National Trust
The Body Shop
Clarks

50:
The White Company

40:
Morrisons
Sainsbury’s
Argos
Marks & Spencer
John Lewis
Love2Shop
Decathalon
Travel Card By Inspire
Ticketmaster
Wickes
Sports Direct
Halfords
H. Samuel
Earnest Jones
American Golf
Superdry

30:
Asda
Tesco

20:
Virgin Gift Card
The Entertainer

In addition to our Portfolio shopping deals, you’ll also get access to our valuable Free Benefits scheme offering:

  • Free 14 Days European Travel Insurance*

Add family and friends, extend your trip or upgrade to annual cover at our market leading rates.

  • Free Income Protection Insurance*

Compensation for the loss of income when you’re unable to earn your normal salary for more than six months as a result of sickness.

  • Free Personal Accident Insurance*

Compensation for death or varying degrees of disablement up to £20,000. Covers sports injuries and leisure accidents too.

  • Free CV Preparation

Whether you plan to develop your career in your current industry or have your sights set on something else, a professionally produced CV from Affinity will give you an edge.

  • Free Will Writing

Affinity will prepare a basic Will for you and your spouse or partner entirely free of charge. We’ll even store it safely for you on request.

  • Free Representation In Industrial Injury Cases

In all industries, members can and do suffer injuries whilst at work. Affinity provides free legal advice and representation where necessary to recover damages.

  • Free Initial Legal Advice

Free legal advice for members, is free of charge when you need it.

*Terms and conditions apply to all insurance products.

Last year we helped 2,614 members with their jobs at risk

Like you, our members simply want to go to work and get on with their jobs (and enjoy time at home without the worry of a work problem). They rarely anticipate the problems they end up facing at work.

Problems we dealt with for members last year included:

  • Job security issues
  • Contract issues
  • Pay issues
  • Working hours issues
  • Work options issues
  • Mobility issues
  • Balanced Scorecard issues
  • Sickness issues
  • Harassment issues
  • Bullying issues
  • Discrimination issues
  • Grievance issues
  • Employment rights issues
  • Sales pressures issues
  • Voluntary early retirement and redundancy issues
  • Performance appraisal / performance management issues
  • Performance improvement policy issues

What our members say

Read these testimonials from our members:

“As a senior executive I never thought I would need to call on the Union’s support in an unfair dismissal case. I was wrong and I’m pleased I kept my membership of 30 years going.

Thanks to you and your legal team the Employment Judge awarded me 12 months’ pay as interim relief, which I’m told is virtually unheard of, and I now expect to win my case with further compensation when the full Tribunal sits next year.

I can’t praise too highly the round the clock support I’ve received and the professionalism.”

 

“I was a long term member of the union but I joined XXX as many members of staff had on the recommendation of the company but I was not willing to give up my Affinity membership due to the trust and confidence I had in you.

This trust and confidence was evidenced when I had a need to contact my union where both my local rep and the telephony based advice team were on hand to help me which was vitally important due to the circumstances.

At the same time I had contacted the other union’s helpline, which had to be done during business hours only to be told to call my local rep. Upon calling them I got through to a voicemail saying they would not be available that day and to call the helpline. The following day I got the same voicemail when calling my rep and the same response when calling the helpline.

If I hadn’t still been a member I honestly don’t know who I would have turned to for help and being placed in a situation when I needed support really brought to life the differences between the two unions.”

 

“I had been off work as the result of an accident. I underwent surgery, and had to endure a long recovery process incorporating physiotherapy and lifestyle adjustments.

In trying to return to work I was the subject of repeated mismanagement. I was offered no support in reintegrating back into my role. I was obstructed at every hurdle and forced to feel that I was inadequate, and that the bank were not willing to assist me in any way.

The union were extremely supportive throughout and provided me with the reassurance that I needed.

I am extremely satisfied with the help and assistance you gave me, without which the right outcome would not have been reached. Thank you so much!”

 

“As you may know I’m back at work now after none of the allegations were upheld. I just wanted to say thank you, I can’t really express how much I appreciate all your help and support over the last few months. I don’t know what I would have done otherwise.”

 

“I just wanted to say how invaluable Paul and Dominic’s support has been through a difficult time. They not only provided me with all the information and support I needed to make the right decision for me but more importantly they were a listening ear when I just needed to talk which to me is more valuable than anything else. Because of this the union will always have my loyalty and has gained an advocate for life.”

 

“I am ever so grateful for all the support you had given me regarding my grievance appeal, if it had not been for all your support and you representing me at the hearing I would not have got through it. This was especially a very difficult time for me.

..all the hard work you put into building it into a statement on my behalf was truly appreciated and all the efforts made to help me during this time.

I am truly grateful for everything the union has done as the outcome of the appeal was a success!!”

 

“I would like to take this opportunity to say how grateful I am for the support I have received from both Debbie and Lee on the Union’s 24 hour helpline.

I have been back to work on a phased return for the last 3 weeks and have an ongoing unresolved grievance. Jamie continues to provide representation for me in this matter and I have been impressed with his considered advice and guidance and his support at my return to work meeting with senior management. His non-confrontational approach, together with his factual knowledge, helped set the tone in order to best meet my objectives for the meeting.”

Join now

You can become a member for just £7.90 a month with reduced rates if you work less than 25 hours.

How can we offer you so much for so little?

Like any form of ‘insurance’ because our members don’t all need help at the same time, our resources are ready for those members who do. Effectively we’re pooling risk and you get the benefit.

“Can’t I Join When I Have a Problem”

Unsurprisingly membership doesn’t work like that!

Like an insurance policy, you can’t take out cover after an accident and we don’t deal with pre-existing issues as part of our normal membership package.

If you’re not a member of Affinity currently and have an issue you want help with, we can assist but we will charge an hourly rate. Please contact us for more information.

If You Join Now

You’ll be protected immediately. And you’ll have access to:

  • 24/7 telephone support and advice from our experts on any work related problem
  • Representation for any grievance, sickness, performance or disciplinary issue that arises
  • Unlimited access to our Portfolio Shopping scheme
  • Free 14 Days European Travel Insurance
  • Free Income Protection Insurance.
  • Free Personal Accident Insurance
  • Free CV Preparation
  • Free Will Writing
  • Free Representation In Industrial Injury Cases
  • Free Initial Legal Advice

To get our support you need to join us before a problem arises. Like any form of insurance, you can’t join when you have a problem and receive advice and representation through our usual service. In those circumstances we will decline to help with problems that pre-exist your membership. But we may be able to offer an alternative service, so if you have an existing employment problem or expect a problem to arise in the near future and are not a member, please ring us and we will explain the options available to you.

Claim your first month’s free membership now

To claim your first month’s free membership either:

Phone us on 01234 716005 and provide the code AF11.

Or simply submit the form below (you don’t need to provide the code if you submit the form).

We’ll then contact you to set up your membership. It only takes 5 minutes.

You then won’t start paying subscriptions until the month following your date of joining.

We look forward to having you as a member.

(If you do not receive a response please phone us on 01234 716005.)

The subscription rates for members are as follows:

Category Subscription
Full Time (25 hours and more) £7.90 pm
Part Time (15 hours and under 25 hours) £6.95 pm
Part Time (under 15 hours) £5.20 pm
Pensioners and Non-Working £2.65 pm

We took 27,752 phone calls from members last year.

We supported 2,614 members in formal cases last year.

Affinity, Bedford Heights, Brickhill Drive, Bedford, MK41 7PH © Affinity 2022      Privacy Statement

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