Northern Ireland

UNISON is Northern Ireland’s leading and liveliest trade union, representing over 40,000 workers delivering essential public services in areas such as health; social services; education; local government; private companies providing public services; and the community and voluntary sector.

We are facing the most critical time for public services in Northern Ireland in the past 30 years. Front-line services in health, social care and education are being cut on a daily basis. Plans are being implemented to shed thousands of jobs in the public sector and almost 60,000 jobs have gone in the private sector. Patricia McKeown, regional secretary


UNISON is Northern Ireland’s leading trade union, representing over 40,000 workers. As well as defending public services and fighting the government’s cuts to public services, our priorities are fairness, equality, participation, partnership and peace.

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    At work

    UNISON members in the Northern Ireland region work in public services and utilities across eight different types of work: local government, health care, education services, water environment and transport, energy, community, private contractors and police and justice staff.

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    Find contact details for the Northern Ireland regional centres.

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    Regional statement

    Read the Northern Ireland regional secretary’s regional statement.

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    • How can I join UNISON?

      If your employer deducts UNISON subscriptions via its payroll and you are based in this region, you can download a regional joining form here [link] and return it to the address at the top of this page.

    • I need to speak to somebody about a problem at work, but I work different shifts to my UNISON rep and I can’t get to a phone during office hours.

      UNISONdirect is open from 6am to midnight Mondays to Fridays, and from 9am to 4pm on Saturdays. They will be able to help you, or put you in touch with someone who can.

    • I want to join UNISON but I don’t have access to email. What should I do?

      You can phone UNISONdirect on 0800 0 857 857 and they will send you an application form. Lines are open Monday-Friday 6am-midnight and Saturdays 9am-4pm.

    • I work in the public sector but my job has been outsourced to a private company. Can I still join UNISON?

      Yes. Just join in the usual way – or if you are already a member, but your employer has changed, let us know by email or by phoning UNISONdirect on Text tel: 0800 0 857 857.

    • I’m worried that my employer won’t like me joining UNISON and I don’t want to make trouble for myself.

      It’s your legal right to join a trade union and your employer cannot legally prevent you from joining. Talk to your colleagues who are already members of UNISON – there is strength in numbers.

    • I’ve just moved house. How can I change my details on your system?

      You can update your details online here. You will need to have your membership number to hand.

      Alternatively, phone UNISONdirect on 0800 0 857 857. Lines are open Monday-Friday 6am-midnight and Saturdays 9am-4pm.

    • I’ve lost my application form to join UNISON. How can I get hold of another one?

      Ask your UNISON steward, or phone UNISONdirect on 0800 0 857 857. Lines are open Monday-Friday 6am-midnight and Saturdays 9am-4pm.

    • There isn’t a UNISON branch where I work, but I still want to join UNISON. What should I do?

      You can join UNISON in the usual way – and why not start a branch yourself? UNISON will provide you with information and support, and then you can start recruiting your colleagues.


    Contact information

    UNISON Centre
    4th Floor, Galway House
    165 York Street
    BT15 1AL