Become a Steward

UNISON needs you. Did you know that people in workplaces with union reps statistically earn more, get more holidays, get better training and are less likely to be discriminated against?

Being a member of UNISON is more than just carrying a membership card; it’s about what we build together to become a more powerful union. UNISON relies on its members and their time to run the union. UNISON workplace representatives (reps), stewards and other activists are the most important link between the union and its members.

You don’t have to commit a lot of time or be an expert to get more involved, a little time and a lot of enthusiasm are all that’s needed; give it a try, and you’ll be amazed how much you get out of it.

New rep?

We know our reps and activists need support and information, help and advice – even more so if you’re new to the role.

Are you a new rep?

  • Make sure you sign up for stewards’ training – contact your region.
  • Make sure your branch knows you’ve been elected as a rep.
  • Make sure your branch lets your region know and gets you registered as a rep or steward on the membership system. This will make sure you get the UNISON activist stewards’ magazine regularly.
  • Make sure the membership system has an email address for you. This will allow you to receive the weekly activist email bulletin with information to help and support you.

We know our reps and activists need support and information, help and advice – even more so if you’re new to the role. Here are a few things to do to start you off.

1. Ask your branch for mentoring

Support, including training, is available at both national and regional levels, but the key to supporting new activists is through the personal touch at the branch level – in other words, mentoring.

The key roles for a mentor or buddy will be to:

  • talk to you about your training or other development needs;
  • direct you to key people in the branch;
  • encourage you to work out solutions to issues as they arise;
  • help you find ways to follow up actions from courses and put your learning into practice.

2. Read the stewards’ handbook

This essential publication is given to all reps and stewards and is packed with useful information. Contact your branch if you haven’t received yours yet.

3. Join the Organising Space

The Organising Space is a dedicated microsite for UNISON activists to share and discuss the issues and strategies affecting their duties in the workplace.

More about the Organising Space

4. Look out for Activist communications

UNISON distributes a specialist stewards’ magazine, UNISON activist, offering support to all workplace representatives. There is also a weekly email bulletin, also called activist, which is sent to all reps and activists who have registered an email address with the union.

Branches also send representatives regular information on local matters and representatives can always ring the regional office, UNISONdirect or check the news section on this website.