Huge membership rise for UNISON ahead of new recruitment ad campaign launch​

More than 90,000 new members already joined this year

A new recruitment campaign, ​aimed at increasing the record number of public service workers who’ve joined UNISON since the start of the pandemic, is being launched by the union today (Monday).

The 60-second animated advert is being screened on Sky, ITV, Channel 4 and YouTube with the message that no worker should feel alone in ​these uncertain times.

The film was created by the GOOD Agency, with whom UNISON has worked for seven years, along with animation studio Coffee & TV. At its heart are ​the ​messages that reassurance, peace of mind and ​security are the benefits that membership of the union brings.

UNISON is currently experiencing a membership surge, with more than 90,000 people signing up ​by the end of May. That’s an increase of almost a quarter (23%) on the same period in 2019.

A quarter (25%) of th​is membership ​increase came in May alone, with 23,040 joining​ last month, a 51% ​rise on the same month last year​, says UNISON.

Altogether UNISON welcomed 91,925 new members during the first five months of 2020. The net rise is estimated to be well in excess of 24,000 people when leavers and retiring members for the period are ​discounted.

One sector where growth has been ​significant is among school ​support staff​, says UNISON. Recruitment for May ​among those working in education was more than four times higher (308%) than the equivalent month in 2019.

The union’s campaigning on behalf of care workers throughout the coronavirus pandemic has also ​prompted a marked increase of 135% year-on-year increase for May ​in social care membership.

Figures also show ​that three in ten of ​all new members (31%) are employed in the private sector.

UNISON assistant general secretary Liz Snape said: “Even ​when times​ are good, everyone in work should be in a union. With the added challenges of life during the pandemic, it’s more important ​than ever.

“Unions ​aren’t just for when things go wrong, but ​are there to improve working lives​ ​too. They hold poor employers to account, ​help workers’ improve their skills and work with governments to ensure work is safe and fair.

“During the pandemic, thousands of ​people working in the NHS, social care, schools, police forces and local government have been joining UNISON. They realise it makes sense in troubled times to have somewhere to turn that has their best interests at heart.

“But ​there are still many workers out there who need support and advice, and who’ve never belonged to a union. This film ​shows how becoming part of the UK’s biggest union makes perfect sense.”

Commenting on the new ad campaign, GOOD Agency CEO and ​founder Chris Norman said: “Appreciation of our public service workers across the country has been incredible over the last few months, but they also need the type of support that allows them to focus on the jobs that we all rely on, especially in these uncertain times.

“That’s why we are so pleased to have worked with UNISON on ​its latest membership recruitment campaign. Being part of UNISON gives members the confidence and peace of mind to focus on doing what they do best, looking after all of us.

“The brief was to create a campaign that will beat the previous target-smashing campaign, with the added complication of doing it during lockdown. Working closely with the fantastic team at UNISON and the brilliant people at Coffee & TV, we believe we have done just that.”

Notes to editors:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services – in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.
– The film can be viewed here.
– Comments from new members:
“Joining UNISON had been on my to-do list and the virus gave me that nudge. I really appreciated
the personal call when I joined, for taking the time to check in with me. It’s good to know UNISON is looking out for its members.”
“I’d been meaning to join for a while then a friend at work persuaded me. I felt it was important to join, particularly with the current issues facing school staff regarding Covid-19.”
“I re-joined after being made redundant from my previous job some time ago. UNISON provided me with help and support when I lost my job so I had no hesitation in joining again when I started my in my current post.”

Media contacts:
Anthony Barnes M: 07834 864794 E:
Liz Chinchen M: 07778 158175 E: