About UNISON

Unison 004 smallUNISON is Britain and Europe's biggest public sector union with more than 1.3 million members. Our members are people working in the public services, for private contractors providing public services and in the essential utilities. They include frontline staff and managers working full or part time in local authorities, the NHS, the police service, colleges and schools, the electricity, gas and water industries, transport and the voluntary sector. 

Local organisation

Every member of UNISON belongs to a local branch, which is made up of people working for the same employer. Local stewards are there to represent you at work and help find the answers to your problems.

Local health and safety reps are there to help make sure your workplace is safe and your job is not too stressful. They are volunteers and play a vital role in recruiting new members, ensuring safety at work and organising your branch. Local branches are made up of ordinary members elected by the workforce. They take on different roles in order to make your life easier at work.

Getting your voice heard

UNISON has a clear structure to make sure all members can have their say. The union is divided into 13 regions, each with its own regional council made up of delegates elected from branches in the area.

The governing body of UNISON is the annual National Delegate Conference. The union's policy is decided by delegates elected from branches, regions and self-organised groups. Policies decided at conference are carried out by the National Executive Council (NEC), elected from the regions and service groups.

Service groups

UNISON has six job groups bringing together members working in similar areas. These are:

  • Business and Environment
  • Community and Voluntary Sector
  • Education Services
  • Health Care
  • Local Government
  • Police Services

Women in UNISON

Women make up two thirds of UNISON's members so we make sure their voices are heard throughout the union. At every level of the union, when people are elected to committees or delegations women must be elected in fair proportion to their membership. Even the National Executive Council has to elect 44 women out of its 67 seats and 13 are held by low-paid women.

UNISON calls this 'proportionality'.

Having an equal say

Our self-organised and other groups are a way to get involved on an equal basis with everyone else in the union. They enable the union to reflect particular experiences and enable members with common interests to come together and work on key issues affecting them. Click on the Self Organised Groups link to find out more.

UNISON in the TUC and the Labour Party

UNISON is the largest union in the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and plays an important role in developing policy. It has a big voice too in the Scottish, Welsh and Irish trades union congresses.

To make sure that issues affecting our members are heard in the outside world, UNISON has a political fund. This money - collected from our members - can only be spent on political and social campaigning. Unlike any other trade union, UNISON offers you the choice of two funds to pay into:

  • The Affiliated Political Fund works to support the Labour Party
  • The General Political Fund campaigns in a non-affiliated way to further the interests of our members.
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