Information and Advice

I’ve got a problem at work – where can I go for advice?

If you are a UNISON member, contact your local UNISON steward or health and safety rep as soon as possible. If you don’t know who your local UNISON rep is or aren’t sure who to contact, ring our hotline (have your membership number ready):

Freephone textphone 0800 0 967 968 Unison Mobile 07966 132886 (Bracknell Branch)

UNISONdirect 0845 355 0845 (calls charged at local rates)

Lines are open 6am-midnight Monday-Friday and 9am-4pm Saturdays.

You can also submit a query online using the UNISON general enquiry form.

I want to change some of my personal details – how do I do that?

We recommend you contact us first and also read the UNISON page: Help with membership issues.

In the event that you feel that you have not received the standard of service you expect from UNISON.

This procedure is intended to ensure:

  • Anyone wishing to make a complaint knows how to do so.
  • The union responds to the complaint quickly and in a courteous and efficient way.
  • Members’ complaints are taken seriously and properly dealt with.
  • The union learns from complaints and where complaints are found to be justified, takes appropriate measures.

UNISON complaints procedure

I want to find a document UNISON has produced – how do I do that?

The documents database is home to many UNISON-produced publications, articles and documents. Some are presented as web pages but most as downloadable PDF files. You can search the database by keyword or subject area.

If you want to access UNISON documents you can visit the national website Resources page.

How do I download PDF files?

When you go to read a PDF document, you have two options.

If you just click once on the link, the PDF file will open within your web browser (usually Internet Explorer). You can then read it as normal. But note that large files (bigger than 500k) may take a few minutes to open in your window.

However, you may prefer to save the PDF onto your hard drive to read at a later date or forward to a colleague.

To do this, click on the link to the PDF file you want to see with your right mouse button (Mac users should hold the button down). This will bring up a small menu – if you select Save Target As (or Save Link As) from this you will be able to save the file to your desktop or hard drive and open it outside the browser.

Sometimes a PDF will open but only a blank page is visible. This may be because the view is zoomed into a blank section of the document. Use the drop-down view menu (bottom left hand corner of the screen) to select a suitable view – 100% or ‘Fit Width’ are usually best.

Especially useful is the Find Tool (a pair of binoculars) – click on the Find icon to search the document for a word or phrase. Click the next icon to the right to search for further occurrences of the word or phrase.

PDF accessibility: To read PDFs with a screen reader please link to the Access Adobe Website which provides useful tools and resources. Adobe also has a free online conversion tool for PDFs.

I work for a branch/region and want to get a news story about our recent pay claim/event on the website – who do I contact?

Email infocus@unison.co.uk with your press release and contact information.

What we campaign on

UNISON campaigns and lobbies on key issues affecting our members and the public at large. We’re working to protect and improve the public services, win equal pay and employment rights for everyone, improve safety in the workplace and end discrimination and harassment at work. We also support external campaigns on issues such as fuel poverty and fair trade.

To find out more go to: Campaigns

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.

To find out more go to: Get Active

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

Self Organised groups

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 groups 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.

We are currently in the process of setting up a self-organised group for Black members. If you are interested please contact us.

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.