How UNISON operates

How does UNISON operate?

Nationally: UNISON is one of UK’s largest trade unions, with more than 1.3 million members; it is also the largest public sector union in Europe! The union is organised into seven service groups/sectors:

  • health,
  • local government (it includes FE colleges),
  • higher education,
  • police and justice,
  • community,
  • water, environment and transport,
  • energy.

Within higher education: in the HE sector, UNISON represents more than 50,000 workers; within the Education sector more generally, UNISON has more than 350,000 members. Almost every campus in the UK has a UNISON branch. Every year, we attend national UNISON ‘Seminars’ where we discuss strategies for organising, and ways of supporting members. We also hold an annual Higher Education Conference where we pass motions relevant to our members in HE. And finally, we attend and submit motions to the National Delegate Conference where more than 2,000 delegates from across the country and all the seven service groups debate and make decisions on various matters; this is the ‘Parliament’ of UNISON. To read the motions passed at this year’s conference, please visit the following page:  

On the UoB campus: on the UoB campus, our branch covers two employers: The University of Birmingham and the Guild of Students, and overall we have more than 650 members from across the two employers. All the officers, stewards and workplace contacts of the branch are employees or casual workers on campus.