Making international policy

UNISON’s international policy is determined by national delegate conference (NDC) and considers motions from branches, regions and the national executive council (NEC).

The NEC’s international committee is responsible for international policy between conferences and, as well as overseeing the work of UNISON’s international unit, it is also responsible for determining the international work priorities of the union. 

Current policy areas

Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

UNISON has long campaigned for the rights of Palestinian people, and works with trade unions, labour organisations and human rights groups in implementing its policy. More recently, UNISON has supported unions in other parts of MENA who are working to ensure that their role as civil society organisations is established and workers’ rights are respected.

Southern Africa

UNISON has strong links with unions in southern Africa: historically with those in South Africa. Latterly we have developed links with unions in other parts of southern Africa, notably in Zimbabwe and Swaziland as they work for social justice and a fairer society.


UNISON is currently working to support human and labour rights groups, including trade unions, in Burma and the Philippines. We also support sister unions in South Korea in their struggle for recognition under ILO treaties.

Latin America – Colombia, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua

As progressive movements increase their influence in Latin America, UNISON has worked with the trade union movements who are involved in these developments. UNISON has a long history of support for trade unionists in Colombia who are constantly under threat. Recent projects have supported the peace campaign initiative and helped train lawyers and trade union rights activists.

Promoting public services globally

UNISON works with sister and global unions worldwide to promote and defend public services and the people who provide them, and to promote alternatives to austerity by actively engaging in civil society.

Labour and human rights

Increasingly workers’ rights are coming under threat as neo-liberal policies are implemented globally. UNISON works with trade unions and NGOs to challenge labour and human rights violations wherever they occur.

Progressive development

UNISON policy has consistently stated that social justice rather than charity should be the foundation for international development. This approach is increasingly gaining momentum, and UNISON works with other unions and organisations to call for government to adopt a more progressive approach to international development.

UNISON International Development Fund (UIDF)

The UIDF was set up to support the trade union movement in the global south as they build their capacity and represent the interests of workers. The UIDF is funded solely through commission received from UNISON’s affinity partners.