Know Your Rights

If you are working in Northern Ireland, no matter what age or racial group you belong to (including nationality),you are entitled to rights and dignity at work, including the right to join a trade union and to work free from unlawful discrimination and harassment. The Irish Congress of Trade Unions along with the Equality Commission have put together this card for you and other migrant workers. It highlights some of your rights in the workplace and where to go to find out more. It’s important for you to read this card and show it to your co-workers and friends.


  • A trade union is an organisation which represents the interests of working people
  • Trade unions seek to improve the pay and working conditions of their members and campaign for better living standards for working people
  • Trade unions are organisations independent of the state and employers. They are run by and for their members


  • To ensure your employment rights are upheld
  • To protect your pay, terms and conditions
  • To receive advice and guidance about your rights at work
  • To create a more inclusive and diverse workplace through the promotion of equality and good relations
  • To have an influence on your working environment
  • You have a right to join a trade union regardless of your employment status from the first day of your employment
  • You cannot be discriminated against for being a trade union member
  • It is particularly important for migrant workers to organise in trade unions as bad employers may try to divide migrant workers from local workers by, for example, paying them less for the same work.


Issue Organisation Services Contact
ALL EMPLOYMENT RELATED ISSUES Migrant Workers Support Unit at Irish Congress of Trade Unions Support, advice and representation for migrant workers in all employment matters. Helpline 028 90246331
Employment guides “Your rights at work” available in a range of languages.
Labour Relations Agency Advice on employment matters and resolving disputes through conciliation, mediation and arbitration Helpline 028 90321442
Law Centre NI Legal advice and representation on immigration, employment, social security benefits and human trafficking Tel. 028 90244401
DISCRIMINATION Equality Commission Northern Ireland Information, advice and legal assistance on discrimination on grounds of race, religious belief or political opinion, sex, sexual orientation, age and disability Helpline: 028 90 500 600
HEALTH AND SAFETY Health and Safety Executive NI Information, advice and investigation of health and safety issues at work Freephone: 0800 0320 121
MINIMUM WAGE Her Majesty Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Enforcement of National Minimum Wage rates Pay and Work Rights Helpline: 0800 917 2368
AGENCY WORKERS Employment Agency Inspectorate at Department for Employment and Learning Regulates and investigates the conduct of employment agencies Tel. 028 9025 7554
Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) Licenses and investigates the agencies which supply workers to the agricultural, horticultural and shellfish industries Helpline: 0800 432 0804
OTHER ADVICE Belfast Migrant Centre Advice and signposting on immigration, social security benefits, employment and hate crime Tel. 028 90438962
Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) Advice on housing, benefits, immigration, employment, money advice Tel. 03001233233
South Tyrone Empowerment Programme (STEP) Legal advice and information in the areas of immigration, employment, social security, housing and education Tel. 028 87750211
Newry and Mourne Ethnic Minorities Support Centre Advice and signposting on immigration, social security benefits and employment Tel. 028 3025 2544