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Unite, Unison, GMB, NUT: how trade union membership can save you money

John Fitzsimons

“I’ve just saved money on my car insurance,” my wife said with a smile.

I looked around for an opera singer or Russian meerkat, thinking I had been transported into a cheesy advert for a price comparison site. But no, this was real life, and my wife was feeling very pleased with herself.

And the discount she’d secured had come from an unexpected source – her trade union.

More to unions than strikes

My wife is a primary school teacher and a member of the snappily-titled National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT). And while the union had offered some excellent professional support in the past, the fact it could also save us a bit of money had passed us by.

But there are all sorts of offers she can take advantage of, from a free will service to money off at the cinema and theatre, even savings on glasses and laser eye surgery. You can see the full range of benefits of NASUWT membership on the website.

It’s not just teachers

This then got me wondering whether this was the case with other unions. I’ve been a member of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) since college, but couldn’t remember ever hearing anything about such discounts.

Indeed, the only ‘extra-curricular’ benefit to NUJ membership that I can find is a range of discounts for Apple products (though not the iPhone or iPad).

However, other unions seem to offer more enticing added services and benefits. I’ve collected the highlights below from some of the UK’s largest unions.

Communication Workers Union (CWU)

  • Link-up with UIA Insurance. 30% off home insurance, 5% discount on travel insurance, discounted rates on car and pet insurance.
  • Special rates on the union’s own hotel in Bournemouth!
  • Breakdown and car leasing deals in place.
  • Family Protection Insurance plans, including critical illness, income protection and personal accident cover.
  • Save £20 on glasses priced £99 and over at Specsavers.

Full list of benefits

Fire Brigades Union (FBU)

  • Link-up with UIA Insurance. 30% off home insurance, 5% discount on travel insurance, discounted rates on car and pet insurance.


  • Car and home insurance discounts from LV=.
  • Use of the Union Energy price comparison site.
  • Free debt advice through the Debt Advice Network.
  • Additional deals for professional driver members, including car purchase schemes and specialist insurance deals.

Full list of benefits


  • 12 months’ car insurance for the price of 11 from Endsleigh.
  • Discounted home and travel insurance deals from both UIA and Endsleigh.
  • Free will service from Thompsons Solicitors.
  • Payplan debt advice.
  • Savings on a range of holiday firms, including Hoseasons, Interhome and Virgin Holidays.
  • Range of deals on food including 50% off Gourmet Society Dining Card.
  • 5% discounts on iTunes gift cards and 10% discounts at WOW HD.
  • Money off days out at Legoland, Thorpe Park and Chessington.
  • Discounts at WHSmith and Waterstones

Full list of benefits

National Union of Teachers (NUT)

  • Special car and home insurance policies from Aviva.
  • A range of savings plans, home insurance, investments and financial education provided by Teachers Assurance.
  • Mortgage deals provided by Teachers Building Society
  • Discounts provided by the Countdown savings programme, offering money off at places like M&S, Waterstones, Currys, Alton Towers, Top Shop and ASDA.
  • Membership of the Utility Warehouse Discount Club.
  • 20% discount on breakdown cover with Britannia Rescue.

Full list of benefits


  • Independent advice from Lighthouse Financial Advice.
  • Debt advice from Payplan.
  • Free tax code review.
  • Range of insurance discounts through LV=.
  • Prospect members can join CSMA Club for range of discounts.

Full list of benefits

Royal College of Nursing (RCN)

  • RCN credit card provided by MBNA.
  • Range of insurance discounts from LV=.
  • 25% off range of health care books from Elsevier.

Full list of benefits


  • Range of insurance discounts from LV= and UIA.
  • Debt counselling from Payplan.
  • Use of the Union Energy price comparison site.
  • Discounts at airport parking and hotels from APH.
  • 10% discount on car hire costs from Europcar.
  • Range of shopping discounts including Vision Express, Averys Wine Merchants, and Beer Club of Britain.

Full list of benefits


  • Insurance discounts from LV= and UIA.
  • £150 cashback on completion of your mortgage from Britannia.
  • Range of holiday discounts and savings through the Unison Travel Club.
  • Unison Prepaid Plus MasterCard, offering cashback of between 3% and 6% depending on where you spend.
  • Unison Rewards scheme, offering cashback and shopping vouchers.
  • Eyecare vouchers from Vision Express.

Full list of benefits

The importance of shopping around

As you can see, there are plenty of deals on things like car, home, travel and life insurance from the UK’s biggest unions.

And while that’s welcome, it’s still important to search around for your own best deal. Even allowing for 20% discounts from certain insurers, you may still be able to find a better deal from an alternative insurer yourself.

Similarly, before you sign up for a discounted holiday, ensure that the deal on offer really is the cheapest available to you.

It’s also important to point out that these discounts and deals are not reason enough to sign up for a trade union, merely an added bonus of membership.

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