The CWU and GMB announced today (Thursday) a “first of its kind” trade union legal firm. UNIONLINE will provide a comprehensive legal service to almost one million trade union members as the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) granted its licence today.
New law firm, UNIONLINE, was formed as the two unions saw a significant opportunity where a deregulated legal profession allowed for new organisations to operate in the legal marketplace.
UNIONLINE, based in Sheffield, has been set up by the CWU and GMB as an Alternative Business Structure (ABS) offering comprehensive legal services to the whole membership of the two unions. Unions have a long and proud history of providing top-class access to justice for their members. The new rules allow GMB and CWU to bring that tradition right up to date.
A partnership of UNIONLINE approved solicitors firms will act for the many thousands of CWU and GMB members legal cases each year under the authority of the UNIONLINE monitoring board, ensuring that CWU and GMB members retain access to legal redress.
CWU general secretary Billy Hayes said: “UNIONLINE is a unique opportunity for both the CWU and the GMB to compete in a previously highly-regulated industry. We want to make sure our members get the very best legal advice and by creating and operating our own legal services we can ensure that.
“This is the first legal service of its kind. With legal assistance being such an integral part of the benefits offered to trade union members this is a truly exciting innovation of which we are immensely proud of and will be overseen by CWU head of legal services, Tony Rupa.”
GMB general secretary Paul Kenny said: “GMB is delighted that the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) has granted a licence to this highly innovative new law firm jointly owned by GMB and the Communication Workers Union to serve the needs of almost one million trade union members.
“We look forward to providing a one stop shop for members which will provide a comprehensive legal service, and unlike the High Street, there will not be deductions from their personal injury awards. We have significant plans for the future and look forward to giving trade union members a unique advantage in their choice of legal services.”
Contact UNIONLINE for free comprehensive legal advice on FREEPHONE 0300 333 0303. The UNIONLINE website will be launched in early June.
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