Judges are workers and have right to join union for protection

19 Mar 2021
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GMB has written to the Lord Chief Justice saying judges are workers and should be allowed to join a union to protect themselves from discrimination. 

The letter comes after serious concerns over discrimination, bullying and whistleblower safety among judges were raised in Parliament.

GMB also expresses worries over covid outbreaks in courts and how unsafe judges –particularly women – feel in and outside of the courtroom. 

Just as judges may join clubs or associations, they can join unions - provided they are not personally taking part in party political activity and do nothing to bring the judiciary into disrepute or damage their own actual and perceived independence, the letter states. 

Stuart Fegan, GMB Senior Organiser, said:  

“Judges undeniably perform a vital and exalted role in society. But they are workers – and more importantly – people too.  

“They have the same rights as others not to be discriminated against, not to be threatened, not to feel scared.  

“If they don’t have a union to stand up for them, who will? 


"GMB is calling on the Lord Chief Justice to work collaboratively with us and give judges the backing they need. - and to confirm the right to join a union. 

"Only the resources and backing of a union will enable them to be properly protected, have representation for terms and conditions and issues at work and ensure diversity and discrimination, bullying and other issues are resolved with appropriate structural and cultural change." 

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