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How the Union Works

The Musicians’ Union is the UK trade union for all musicians

We stand up for employed and self-employed musicians working in every area of the UK music industry, and in music education.

We work to maximise the employment and overall income of musicians as well as protecting and improving working conditions. We also offer advice, support and legal assistance based on every individual member’s needs.

We lobby government at all levels and campaign on a national and international scale on issues of relevance to our members.

We actively oppose all forms of harassment, prejudice and unfair discrimination whether on the grounds of sex, race, ethnic or national origin, religion, colour, class, caring responsibilities, marital status, sexuality, disability, age, or other status or personal characteristic.

We are a democratic organisation

Conference and committees are formed of democratically elected MU members. Every member can be involved as much or as little as they wish. For information about standing for a committee please contact your regional office.

Members can also submit motions for committees to consider. You can also view the latest ballot results.

As a trade union, we are governed by a set of Rules.

We also have an Independent Scrutineer: Popularis Ltd, Nutsey Lane, Totton, Southampton SO40 3RL.

Summary Accounts are available to all members.

We are also a music industry body

The Union has ‘Sections’, which act as focus groups for musicians working in different areas of the music industry. 

These Sections are vital in helping to shape Union policy. Each Section has a democratically elected Committee that meets to discuss issues and, where appropriate, make recommendations to the Executive Committee. 


The MU Sections are:

  • Live Performance Section
  • Teachers' Section
  • Music Writers' Section
  • Orchestra Section
  • Recording & Broadcasting Section
  • Theatre Section

Are you an MU member? Join one of the Sections, and be part of the network of musicians, by editing your profile or contacting your regional office.

Membership is open to any member who earns all or part of their living from the area of work that the Section covers.

People understand what a union is once they’ve needed to access the services of a union, when they’re in trouble. I understood what a union could do for you because my dad was a union rep at the local yard. He was a roofer and a builder. So I understand the basic charter of any union.

James Dean Bradfield, Manic Street Preachers


Delegate Conferences are held every two years and help to form MU policy. The next conference will be held in the summer of 2021. Conference receives a report from the EC on its activities since the last Conference, considers motions and amendments originating from Regional Committees, decides matters of policy and determines rule changes. 

Any member who has been in membership for one year at the time of nomination may stand for election as a conference delegate. Arrangements and procedures for Conference are announced in The Musician, and Regional editions of The Musician Extra. 

Are you a member? Find out more information from the latest MU Conference.


The Executive Committee (EC) is made up of elected members from the six MU regions and is the MU’s main democratic body. The abridged minutes from the Executive Committee meetings are available to all MU members.

Executive Committee

Scotland & Northern Ireland
Alex Gascoine, Rab Noakes

North of England
Sam Dunkley, Vernon Fuller and Eileen Spencer

Millicent Stephenson, Dan Whitehouse

East & SE England
Harriet Bennett, Julian Field, Andi Hopgood, Xenia Horne

Wales & SW England
Rachael Parvin, Andy Gleadhill

Steve Done, Rick Finlay, David Lee, Gerald Newson, Sarah Williams, Jacquelyn Hynes


Each of the MU’s six Regions has its own democratically elected Regional Committee (RC). Each RC has 20 members who sit for a two-year term of office. 

The RC is responsible for MU activities within the Region. For national matters, an RC can submit motions to the EC or to MU Conference 


There are three ways to submit motions (for full details please see the MU Rules: 

a) A Motion moved at a Regional AGM (normally held in September), if accepted, will be sent directly to the EC. 

The Motion will require a mover and a seconder and after debate will be put to a vote by the Chair. Should the Motion be adopted by the AGM it is sent, on behalf of all members in the Region, to the General Secretary for consideration by the EC. 

The result of the EC’s deliberations will be conveyed to the Regional Committee (RC) and members in that Region will be informed through its quarterly newsletter. 

b) A Motion may be submitted for consideration by an RC if it is supported by at least five members of the Region, who must provide their names and membership numbers. 

If accepted by the RC, the Motion will be forwarded by the Regional Organiser to the General Secretary for the attention of the EC. 

The result of the EC’s deliberations will be reported to the original supporters via the RC. 

c) A Motion may be submitted in writing directly to the EC if it is supported by at least 20 members, who must all provide their names and membership numbers. 

The Motion should be forwarded to the General Secretary, who will present it to the EC for its consideration. 

The results of the EC’s deliberations will be conveyed to all the supporters of the Motion. 

NB: Under Rule XII.2, Retired (free) members are not entitled to move, second or support Motions to the EC or RCs. 


Details of the latest ballots for elections to key positions within the MU are published in keeping with the relevant legislation, if any, both in the Ballot results section of this website and in the first available edition of the members’ quarterly journal, The Musician. 

Ballot results 2018