Work with us

So what can we do?
UNISON they are worth it

Take action

UNISON is a large organisation, with offices and staff all across the UK. But what makes us a union is our 1.3 million members – ordinary working people who have come together because together, we are stronger; together, we're better able to protect our interests; together, we can make a difference.

So what can we do?
Help recruit new members. The more of us there are in UNISON, the louder our voice is and the stronger we are.

Are all your colleagues at work members of UNISON? Have you asked them? The reason most people give for not being in a union is "nobody asked me" – and when it comes to asking, the best people are the people they work alongside: in other words, you and your fellow UNISON members.

Find out more about helping us grow.

Get organised
Got a problem or issue at work? Does it affect more than just you? UNISON is there to help and support, but often the best people to tackle problems are the people who are directly affected: talk it over with your colleagues to identify the problem and a likely solution.

Help spread the word
  • Talk to your friends and colleagues about UNISON, what we are and what we do.
  • If you're on the internet – Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, message boards etc – don't be shy to mention your union.
  • Does your workplace have a notice board? Are there UNISON posters and notices on it? Perhaps you could volunteer – maybe with other colleagues – to make sure there are and keep them up to date.
  • Help organise events at your workplace or in your wider community.
  • Maybe you can help your branch or local steward with communications, distributing newsletters, leaflets or other publications to workmates.
  • All of these – and many others – are good ways of spreading the word not just about UNISON in general but about specific campaigns, whether they're directly work related or wider UNISON campaigns about defending public services or general campaigns about citizenship issues.
Take part
But perhaps the best way you can help make sure we have a strong and active union is by taking part:
  • attend branch and workplace meetings when you can;
  • make sure you have your say in elections and ballots;
  • make sure you branch is properly represented in the wider union – in your region, your service group and at conferences.

Become a rep

The UNISON workplace rep is the most important link between the union and its members. Workplace representatives play a number of roles.

They are organisers who talk to, recruit and organise members around workplace issues, hold meetings, undertake surveys and help run ballots.

They give members information about union issues by publicising UNISON campaigns, distributing leaflets and keeping members informed about and involved in local negotiations.

They are advisers and sounding boards, talking to members about workplace problems and - if they feel confident - giving advice on how to deal with these. Alternatively, they may arrange for the member to get advice or assistance from elsewhere in the union, or work with them to get the information they need. They are representatives and spokespersons for members in their workplace.

UNISON has four types of workplace representative:
  • 1. Steward

    A UNISON steward is an elected representative whose role includes organising, recruiting and representing members (including at disciplinary and grievance hearings).

    Stewards in workplaces where UNISON is recognised by the employer have rights to time off for training and to carry out their work.

    Stewards have a right to be involved in how their branch is run and are the most important link between the members and the union. UNISON aims to have at least one steward in each workplace and department, more in larger departments and where members work shifts.

    Stewards are elected each year by the group of members that they represent and the post is open to job share.
  • 2. Health and safety rep

    A health and safety representative has the right to training and to raise issues which affect the health and safety of members.

    UNISON aims to have at least one health and safety representative in every workplace where we have members.

    In some cases, the safety representative and steward are the same person but they have two separate roles.

    Safety representatives have specific duties and responsibilities and also have important legal rights.

    Find out more about health and safety.

    For the latest Health and Safety news
  • 3. Union learning rep

    Learning reps are likely to be members who have recently completed a learning programme and are enthusiasts and advocates for learning in their own workplaces.

    Their precise role will vary according to their own circumstances, but will probably centre on raising awareness of lifelong learning among the members and helping to identify and articulate the learning needs of particular members, as well as negotiating with employers on learning issues.

    They have some rights to time off for training and carrying out their duties. They will also liaise with employers about lifelong learning opportunities. Find out more about workplace learning.
  • 4. Workplace contacts

    Workplace contacts distribute information, support a steward or carry out some tasks normally undertaken by a steward.

    Workplace contacts do not have access to the same rights as stewards, but can and do play an important role in helping groups of members to organise effectively.

    This is an ideal role for someone who is interested in becoming a steward or safety representative, but would like to find out more about what is involved. It is also ideal for those groups of members who can find no-one willing to be a steward.

Support and Training
Where the union has a recognition agreement, stewards, health and safety reps and learning reps have a legal right to ‘reasonable’ time off for union duties. Good recognition agreements may also allow some time off for union activities – rather than duties – but with will depend on the particular agreement and employer.

Support is available for UNISON reps from your branch and region, as well as more experienced colleagues, and every region runs training courses for reps throughout the year.

Nationally, the union produces a regular reps' magazine and weekly email newsletter, as well as other support and information for reps.

Become a rep
If you want to get more involved in UNISON's workplace activities, then call the Unison office on 01792 635271 or 01792 635277.

Branch Roles

UNISON has almost 1,000 branches in the UK. A branch is made up of all its members. Some members are elected by their workforce to play different roles.

All branches must have at least one members' meeting a year. This is the annual general meeting, which is held between 1 January and 31 March.
  • Branch Officers:
    Branches must elect certain core officers.
  • Branch Chair:
    Someone who facilitates branch and committee meetings (some are also senior negotiators).
  • Branch Secretary:
    The main contact person with the wider union who handles branch admin (may also be senior negotiators).
  • Branch Convenor:
    Liaises with and organises branch stewards on behalf of the branch committee.
  • Branch Treasurer:
    Responsible for managing branch finances, including keeping accounts.
  • Branch Health and Safety Officer:
    Assists the branch with any health and safety issues that arise and helps to educate members of health and safety matters.
  • Branch Young Members' Officer:
    Advises and helps recruit young members while ensuring their voices have an influence across the union.
  • Equalities Officers:
    Work on equal rights issues including sex, race, disability and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues (there may be up to four per branch).
  • Branch Education Co-ordinator:
    Helps arrange training courses and education programmes for members, stewards, health and safety reps and branch officers.
  • Branch Communications Officer:
    Co-ordinates branch websites, social media, newsletter and other communications.
  • Branch International Officer:
    Develops and leads on international solidarity activities including campaigns, twinnings and support for projects abroad.
  • Retired Members Officer:
    Supports UNISON retired members by campaigning on their behalf and organising local activities.
  • APF Political Officer:
    Liaises with the local Labour Party and makes sure the views of UNISON members who pay the affiliated political fund levy are heard.
Branches may also create other posts according to their rules. Officers are elected either at the AGM or by postal ballot beforehand.

Branch Committee
The branch officers and stewards form the branch committee. Branch committees meet monthly and are responsible for running all branch business between full members' meetings.

Normally all stewards are members of the branch committee, though large branches may be divided into sections, with a representative from each sitting on the branch committee.

Where that is the case, stewards in each section will meet as a section steward committee and have their own representatives directly elected onto the main branch committee.

Branches are also encouraged to develop organisation among under-represented groups such as women, Black members, LGBT members, disabled members, young members and retired members by setting up self-organised groups.

These can also elect officers to the branch committee.

Most branches will have a dedicated branch office and may employ staff to administer and run it.

Contact Us

  • Phone:

    Branch Office:
    01792 635271/637458
  • E-Mail:

    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Branch address:

    Room 153G
    UNISON Office
    SA1 4PE
  • Web address:

Room 153G, UNISON Office, Guildhall, Swansea, SA1 4PE
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