UNISON came into being 25 years ago. In the face of hostile trade union legislation, and attempts to decimate and privatise our public services, we have grown and become strong.

Of our 1.3 million members around 80% are women making us the biggest organisation representing women in the UK. That alone is cause for celebration. But there’s so much more to celebrate and, as a young forward-looking union that is proud of its past, we will be celebrating for the whole year – from July 2018 to June 2019.


Assistant general secretary hails the difference UNISON makes

Addressing women’s conference, Christina McAnea says she wants to ensure the union continues to create such a legacy

Getting hot, hot, hot – July at UNISON

Whilst UNISON enjoyed the sun and the World Cup as much as the next union, we also didn’t let them stop us working as hard as ever on behalf of our members. Here are just some of our highlights from July

70 years of the NHS, 25 years of UNISON

Dave Prentis opens UNISON’s annual health conference

UNISON: 25 years strong

Our union is strong as we approach our 25th anniversary, general secretary Dave Prentis told UNISON’s national executive council at its meeting in London.

Find out more

Three unions – Nupe, Nalgo and Cohse – came together on 1 July 1993 on ‘Vesting Day’ to form one union to represent all public service workers, wherever they work.

There’s no denying that things are difficult for public services and the dedicated staff who provide them. We can’t forget the cuts, privatisation and pay restraint that have become an unwelcome part of our members’ lives. But we will never forget how proud we are of our members, proud of the jobs they do and proud of the public services they provide.

For 25 years we have challenged unfair employment practices and defended jobs and pensions. We have taken legal cases and won a staggering £775m in compensation for our members. We have stood up for fairness and equality – and we’re not about to stop.

That is why we are taking this opportunity to celebrate 25 years of our achievements. This is an ideal opportunity to remember why it’s good to belong to a union that is campaigning, caring and visionary – and here for the next 25 years and beyond. 

Dates for your diary

Use the anniversary to help you plan activities and recruitment in your UNISON branch. Think about some of the key points in your year and plan your celebrations around them. For example, you might want to tie an event in to your branch AGM, a recruitment drive or pick a national day or week, for example Black History Month (October), Workers Memorial Day (28 April), International Nurses Day (12 May), or International Women’s Day (8 March).

25 ideas

In the resources section you will find ideas to help you spread the word about our achievements and lots of ideas on how to celebrate. You can download the artwork ready to use in your own newsletters and social media.


Share your stories

Were you born 25 years ago? Have you been in UNISON 25 years? What is your branch most proud of? What plans do you have to celebrate?

Please tell us your stories so we can share them through UNISON’s media channels and join us on social media using the hashtag:



See the film

Get the T-shirt and more

We’ve developed a new look for the celebrations. You’ll see our ‘25’ logo is full of icons, or emojis, that represent key themes for UNISON. You can create your own icons too to add to the collection. You can use the 25 as it is or separate the icons out.

So, hang out the bunting, download the artwork, get the cake decorations and away you go!

We also have mugs, pens, badges, T-shirts and much more for you to order from the ‘25 years in UNISON’ section on the catalogue.

Go to the online catalogue