Equalities & SOG Groups

What are SOGS


Equality and challenging discrimination are core principles of Unison’s strategy. These core principals are at the very heart of our union and are championed in every activity, consultation and negotiation. To this end the strategy of developing self-organisation as the key to promoting equality and to developing policies that will challenge discrimination in all its forms.

SOGs can help:

  • Make sure you have a voice in Unison –
  • Give you the knowledge, confidence and tools to tackle discrimination
  • Deal with difficult an sensitive issues with you and on your behalf
  • Influence Unison policy at all levels
  • Using our shared experience to develop policies that address discrimination and promote the equality agenda
  • Campaign for civil rights legislation

Members of these groups share a common experience of discrimination including harassment, victimisation and poorer terms and conditions. If you would like to start or be involved in a local Self Organised Group or even get involved at a regional or national level there are unison staff and resources available to help. Any out of pocked expenses incurred via SOG activities can be claimed back. Please see contacts below. You can also contact East Sussex Area Branch office for more information and help.

In the South East Region, there are 5 self-organised groups (SOGs).

  • Black members SOG – Works to eliminate discrimination, promote equality. Offers support on workplace and wider equality issues. Contact: Regional Black Members Officer: Sam Wines – s.wines@unison.co.uk


  • Disabled members SOG – Challenges discriminatory actions, campaigns for a fair deal for disabled members, such as inaccessible workplaces, negative attitudes at work and spearheads actions such as the campaign for the employers to adopt a disability leave policy. Contact: Regional Disabled Members Officer: Suzanne Tipping – s.tipping@unison.co.uk


  • LGB&T SOG (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender members – Committed to working towards LGB&T rights, challenge discrimination, increase LGB&T awareness and campaign for change. Contact: Regional LGB&T Members Officer: Ryan Slaughter – r.slaughter@unison.co.uk


  • Women members SOG – Women make up more than 70% of Unison and too many still earn less than men for doing similar work, face inequality in the pension system, sex discrimination and bullying and harassment at work. The SE Women’s SOG takes a lead role on negotiating and campaigning to improve working lives for our women members. Contact: Regional Women’s Officer: Fiona Roberts – f.roberts@unison.co.uk


  • Young members SOG – Has around 75,000 young members nationally under the age of 27. This SOG aims to get a better deal for young people as part of the workforce including improved pay and career opportunities and or at less rick from exploitation, accident’s and injury. Contact: Regional Young Members Officer: Jenny Mason – j.mason@unison.co.uk


Member groups

UNISON members who share common concerns come together in groups to discuss, campaign and organise events around the specific issues that affect them.

These ‘self-organised’ groups operate at both national level and within the region. Every one of these groups has a structure with a region and a regional committee.

Find out more about how to get involved in the region by contacting the regional office

Member groups work for change in many different ways:

  • by raising awareness of topical issues that affect members;
  • by campaigning to change legislation;
  • by using the bargaining power of their collective voice.


Black members

Black members are a core part of UNISON and come together to promote equality in the workplace and campaign against discrimination. Find out more about the benefits of joining the Black members’ group


Two-thirds of UNISON members are women. Important issues for the women’s group include health, childcare, flexible working and equal rights. Find out more about the benefits of joining the women members’ group

Young members (27 years old or younger)

Join our 75,000 young members who get involved in campaigns to make a positive difference to pay, working conditions and rights.  Find out how joining the young members’ group can help you

Retired member

As a retired member you can benefit from regular meetings and social outings, as well as the option to join UNISON campaigns. Learn more about the benefits of being part of the retired members’ group

Disabled members

Disabled members benefit from a range of national and regional events such as information, discussion and policy-making meetings, as well as training and social events. Find out how being in the disabled members’ group can benefit you


UNISON’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members get support and advice regarding discrimination and equality in the workplace. Find out more about becoming part of the LGBT members’ group