Union in the company: what are the rules?

Verified 02 August 2023 - Legal and Administrative Information Directorate (Prime Minister)

The exercise of the right to organize is recognized in all companies in accordance with the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, in particular the freedom of the individual to work. No company may call into question the exercise of this right. Any employee is free to join a trade union organization. What is a union? Is union membership free of charge? What are the employer's obligations? We're doing an update on the regulations.

A union group persons for the purpose of defend their professional interests common.

Its sole purpose is to study and defense rights and interests material and moral, groups and individuals persons mentioned in its statutes.

A union has the capacity to take legal action in order to ensure the defense of its interests. It may also negotiate with employers' associations collective agreements and branch, company or establishment agreements.


a trade union is considered to be representative when it meets a certain number of criteria (respect for republican values, financial transparency, significant influence in the industry or the company...).

Any employee may adhere to the union of his choice. Membership may not not be refused for reasons relating to seniority, the age and status of the employee in the company.

The employee may also remove from the union at any time.

An employee who belongs to a trade union does not have to to inform his employer.

When an employee joins a trade union, he pays a levy, in accordance with the conditions laid down by the trade union.

If the employee decides not to join, the trade union may claim the contribution corresponding to the 6 months which follow the withdrawal of membership.


he is forbidden to the employer of take union dues on wages and pay them instead of the employee.

The employer shall inform every year employees, by any means, of the availability of the addresses of the trade unions of employees representative. These trade union organizations are located in the branch of the company and are specified on the website of the Ministry of Labor.

The employer or its representatives shall not not the law to use a means of pressure in favor of or in favor of the counter of a trade union organization.

The employer cannot pitch take into account membership from the employee to a trade union or his trade union activity in the company to take decisions on, inter alia:

  • Remuneration, incentives or distribution of shares
  • Training, reclassification, assignment, qualification, classification, promotion
  • Transfer or renewal of his contract
  • Disciplinary law and termination of the employment contract

Any act discriminatory is strictly forbidden.

The employer may be sentenced by the judge to damages and criminal sanctions.


when a trade union section is set up in the company, it shall act in accordance with the powers of the shop steward (DS) or, if the trade union is not representative, the representative of the trade union section (RSS). Depending on the size of the company, the employer has certain obligations.

Union Delegate (DS)

A representative trade union in the company that sets up a trade union section may designate a shop steward.

The shop steward negotiates collective agreements. He represents his union with the employer to make proposals, claims or complaints.

In order to accomplish his mission, the shop steward has the means. The rules vary according to the number of employees in the company. He may serve a number of terms.

Representative of the Trade Union Section (RSS)

Where a trade union does not fill the criteria of representativeness in a company or establishment of at least 50 employees, it may appoint a representative of the trade union section.

The missions of a representative of the trade union section (RSS) are the same as those of the shop steward (SW), but an SSR has no right to negotiate collective agreements.


An RSS can be designated in a company less than 50 employeesunder specific conditions.