Political affiliations and support

UNISON regularly lobbies politicians in the UK Parliament, the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and Northern Ireland Assembly as part of our campaign work and to pursue our objectives and priorities.

Lobbying is how we get our message directly to the politicians who make the decisions that affect our rights, our quality of life and the quality of our public services.

Find out more about UNISON campaigning 

Political campaigning happens at branch, regional and national level.

Contributing to political activity

To take part in political activity unions have to maintain a political fund - and in UNISON you can choose whether to pay a proportion of your subs into the affiliated political fund (Labour Link), the general political fund (GPF), both, or neither.

General political fund

The general political fund (GPF) is not affiliated to any political party. The money you pay into the fund is used to support local campaigns, to give a boost to the union's national political campaigns and pay for political advertising.

Much of the high profile political campaign work you see from UNISON is paid for by the general political fund.

But its not just the big things the GPF funds. All sorts of national and local projects and campaigns benefit from receiving funding this way, such as anti-cuts campaigns or local campaigns against hospital closures for example.

If your branch has members in it who pay into the GPF, the branch can apply for financial support for a political campaign or activity.

UNISON held a ballot on the general political fund in November 2014 and members voted to keep the fund. Read the report on the ballot results [PDF].  

GPF application form  [PDF]

Form to transfer between the political fund and the general fund [PDF}

Form to contribute to both political funds [PDF]

Political fund exemption form [PDF]

To find out more about the GPF, contact g.politicalfund@unison.co.uk

Labour Link

Labour Link works directly within the Labour Party to take UNISON’s policies into the heart of the party. We work at local and national level and have a network of Labour Link officers at branch, regional and national levels who work together with other affiliated unions to promote our agenda.

UNISON Labour Link regional contact officers

Each UNISON region has a political contact officer who works with the regional Labour Link committees on its activities and organisation.

Labour Link

Parliamentary officer Keith Birch leads the team responsible for Labour Link work. Email: labourlink@unison.co.uk

Labour Link Scotland

The UNISON Labour Link political contact officer in Scotland is Dave Watson. Email: d.watson@unison.co.uk UNISON also has a number of lay members on the Scottish Labour Party Executive.

Labour Link Wales 

Labour Link works closely with the Welsh Assembly. It has established a UNISON group of Labour Assembly Members (AMs) and works with them, providing briefings and lobbying on issues affecting UNISON members. The contact officer is Dave Bezzina. Email: d.bezzina@unison.co.uk

UNISON and Parliament

UNISON works closely with sympathetic Members of Parliament and particularly closely with Labour MPs. MPs can put down early day motions and ask questions related to UNISON concerns and lobbies, such as those concerning public services, housing and trade union rights.

UNISON and the European Parliament

As well as working at a UK level, Labour Link works closely with the UNISON group of Labour MEPs in the European Parliament. Together we liaise on European legislation.

Through this work, we have achieved major improvements in areas such as employment rights, equality issues and environmental safeguards.


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