Every member of UNISON belongs to a branch – usually local, but sometimes regional or national.

The branch is the basic unit of the union. It is the main place where you will get access to help and advice and take part in the democracy of the union.

Our branches vary enormously in size, spread and make-up. Some have many thousands of members, others are much smaller.

They may be based around one employer, but the changing face of public services means they are increasingly likely to represent members across a number of employers, in both the public and private sectors.

One of the most important people in your branch and UNISON is your steward. They will be the first point of contact for most UNISON members. They are volunteers, elected every year by colleagues in the workplace.

Each year the branch holds an annual general meeting where members elect a branch secretary and other key branch officers whose job is to make sure the branch works effectively, members are supported and UNISON’s influence grows.


Key principles

  • Equality – we all deserve to be treated with respect and fairness
  • Solidarity – we support each other at work and in society
  • Democracy – members each have a right to make the decisions that shape their union
  • Participation – we share our skills, commitment and creativity to build a stronger union.