The students’ union has announced all students employed by them will now be entitled to free membership of one of the country’s largest trade unions.

A new partnership has been formed between the SU and GMB to provide this benefit which will see an unprecedented level of protection provided free of charge to those who choose to opt in. This, the SU say, is in addition to the living wage and other working arrangements already in place for the students they employ.

In light of the scheme, Jack Robinson, Campaigns and Democracy SU Officer said: “Our research suggests that not nearly enough students are aware of their rights at work, and with the steady emergence of the gig economy it’s more important than ever that students are members of a union like GMB that can defend and extend those rights at work.

“That’s why we’re both offering free trade union membership to our student staff, and working in partnership on student rights at work, campaigning for all students at UEA.”

Becoming a member of GMB will give students full access to all of the services on offer from the union, which would usually cost the average worker £13 per year, like representation in professional disputes, the opportunity to train as a workplace rep and a seat on UEA SU’s employment consultative committee.

Over the next few weeks students who work for the LCR, bars, Unio and SU shop will have the chance to opt in, through either the GMB or SU website.

Elections will then be held in order to form the GMB branch, which provides members with the opportunity to develop their representation skills and knowledge of employment law.

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