Student Workers

If you’re a student working for the University of Birmingham or the Guild of Students as an hourly paid worker or employee on short-term contracts, then UNISON is your trade union. You can join UNISON for £1.30/month. Email us at if you wish to join. Membership gives you a voice and a say in how your trade union and University are run, as well as access to free support, representation, training and social events. We defend your rights at work, ensure you are treated fairly and campaign to improve your pay and working conditions.

Here’s a Trade Union Factsheet we’ve put together for Student Officers (but is relevant to all students)[link]:

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Also, please read out joint unions report, written by all the trade unions on campus at the end of 2018. In it, you will see what our main and most recent demands from the university are (including the demands to employ 21 more counsellors, restructure Welfare services, give students proper contracts and pay student workers when they are off sick, negotiate with unions and be transparent about the implications of studying and working on the Dubai campus – among others). Here’s the report:

Campaigning for the issues that affect you

We oppose privatisation and campaign for increased public funding to build an education system that is free, accessible and beneficial to all. We also campaign for:

  • an end to mass youth unemployment
  • age equality
  • a real Living Wage
  • properly paid apprenticeships that lead to real jobs
  • affordable housing
  • the right to vote at age 16

2019 – the year for Young Workers in UNISON!

We are pleased that at the 2018 National Delegate Conference, UNISON delegates voted unanimously in favour of making 2019 the year for young workers. More details here.

We would like to encourage young workers’ involvement in trade union activities on campus, and please note that the Young Members’ Officer role has just become vacant (as of July 2018). If you are interested in undertaking the role, please contact us at

* to be eligible for this position, you must be under the age of 27.

Did you know that on average young people in trade unions earn nearly 43% more than young people who aren’t? 

(Source: Department of Business, Innovation, and Skills, May 2016).

Young UNISON members get the same support and services as other members, which includes negotiating on pay, terms and conditions, representation when things go wrong, and access to education and training opportunities. 

Young people are being hit hard as the government’s austerity programme continues to force cuts in jobs and vital support services. They are facing:

  • unemployment and workfare
  • sky-high tuition fees
  • axed maintenance grants and having to take on loans instead
  • under-25s are excluded from the government’s so-called ‘national living wage’
  • more cuts to housing benefits, and rising rents

The situation is not much better for young people who do have work. Too many are in low-paid jobs with little or no security. And young people face higher levels of bullying and harassment than many other workers. We believe that decent jobs and high-quality public service providing support for young people are essential elements to a sustainable economic recovery.