Why does UNISON campaign in general elections?

UNISON represents 1.3 million people working to provide our public services.

We support them at work, organise to improve their pay, terms and conditions, and campaign for high-quality public services and a fairer society.

Part of this role is to campaign politically for better funding for public services, and better pay and support for the hardworking people we represent.

It is a legitimate part of our role to try and ensure that the issues which matter to our members are part of the debate in any election campaign. Under law, UNISON (along with other unions) can only fund political campaigns by having a dedicated political fund which members can choose whether or not to pay into.

And as part of UNISON’s commitment to our members, we have taken the unusual step of dividing our fund into two parts. This allows members the additional choice of deciding if they want to pay into the Campaign Fund (which is not affiliated to any party and supports national, regional and local campaigning) or to Labour Link, which is directly affiliated to the Labour Party.

So our members have a choice about whether to pay for political campaigns and then whether they want to simply support general campaigning or would like to help take UNISON’s policies into the Labour Party, but the union itself is affiliated to the Labour Party.

At general elections and around other key ballots and campaigns, UNISON is able to use both of these funds to promote our campaigns for quality public services, fair pay and social justice.

We do this by talking to our members and their families; engaging with Labour nationally and locally; running public campaigns and supporting our activists to engage people in their branches to get involved, use their vote and have their say.

We recognise that our members will make their own decision about how to vote, but we encourage them to do so with public services in mind.

UNISON is registered with the Electoral Commission as a third party or “non-party campaigner”. This means all our expenditure is regulated and subject to guidelines to ensure transparency for voters.