The basic unit of trade union organization in most UK unions, equivalent to the union ‘local’ in North America. Union branches may be based upon a particular workplace or enterprise or cover a particular geographical area such as a town or district. Branches elect their own officers (e.g. secretary, chair, women's officer, membership secretary, and treasurer), who in an enterprise or workplace branch will become the main workplace union representatives. Territorial branches, in contrast, may be rather distant from workplace trade unionism, though they may accredit shop stewards and act as advisers or negotiators on behalf of workplaces. Branches can vary tremendously in size, vitality, and functions, depending on union traditions. In some unions, they may enjoy considerable autonomy and may even appoint or elect their own paid, full-time officers. The trend in recent years has been to establish workplace branches in order to connect the formal system of union government more directly to the needs of employees at their place of work. As the basic unit of trade union organization, branches elect delegates and representatives to higher-level union committees.
Subjects: Human Resource Management.