SELF-ORGANISED GROUPS -Why self-organisation?

Trade unionism is all about organising workers around a common experience. We organise members in a number of different ways, such as by employer, by occupational group (home care workers, police staff, teaching assistants and so on) and by geography.

Self-organisation is members organising around their experience of prejudice and discrimination.

Because prejudice and discrimination are deep-rooted in our society, women members, Black members, disabled members and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members have traditionally been less visible in trade unions and under-represented in democratic structures. Self-organisation offers a way to address this.It is sometimes thought that because the members of self-organised groups meet separately, self-organisation is separatism. It is not.

UNISON’s self-organised groups are a well-established part of our organisation. They are actively involved in all the union’s mainstream work. They have a valuable role in ensuring that the union identifies and takes up equality issues, actively challenges discrimination and that our democratic structures reflect the whole membership. Self-organisation strengthens UNISON.

Our five self organised groups are

Black members


Disabled members

LGBT (Lesbian, Gay , Bisexual and transgender)

Retired members