Follow the links below for our latest activities relating to each of these countries:


UNISON international

International Officer:  Vacant    International Archive

Why does UNISON get involved in international activity?

Britain's economy and political system are interdependent with Europe and the rest of the world. In the current economic climate as we are all engaged in the struggle to protect our public services it is vital that UNISON works with sister trade unions in other countries and through key international organisations to promote and protect members' interests and concerns.

You probably take for granted the right to access this website, to meet and discuss work problems or politics. But trade unionists in many other countries risk intimidation and even death for active membership in a union. Solidarity - joining together with others who share a common interest - is the very basis of trade unionism, and it shouldn't stop at national borders.

International Report - Branch Committee July 2015


International Report - Branch Committee May 2015

UNISON international seminar, 20-22 March 2015

Conor McArdle attended this annual seminar on behalf of the branch.

This year's seminar featured sessions on trade agreements, Palestine, Swaziland, Colombia and Qatar. There was also a session featuring the work of branch activists who have been part of delegations over the past couple of years on issues such as Nicaragua, Philippines, India (Bhopal) and Cuba.

Conor's report to the branch committee covers:


International Report - Branch Committee February 2015


International Report - Branch Committee December 2014


International Report - Branch Committee November 2014

Philippines  Stop Glencore's Deadly Mine

Palestine  MPs have voted 274 to 12 recognise the state of Palestine.

Colombia  Colombia continues to be the most dangerous place in the world to be a trade unionist or social movement leader.


International Report - Branch Committee October 2014

Conor McArdle's report to the Branch Committee includes:

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership


Amnesty International Colombia Day


International Report  to Branch Committee 7 April 2014

Conor's April report includes:

The New Frontlines of War: Corporations, Conflict and Community Resistance

Feedback from the meeting hosted jointly by UNISON and War on Want.

Visa refused for member of Cuban Five to visit UK

An international commission of inquiry on 7 and 8 March in London into the case of the Cuban Five (Miami Five in the UK) went ahead without the principal witness being there to give his testimony.

Tesco's Western Sahara 'conflict tomatoes'

Why they are called 'conflict tomatoes' and why you should call on Tesco to remove them from their stores.

Peru Water Privatisation

The Peruvian Congress has approved a law which will place water and sanitation services, which are essential for human life and health, into private hands, turning a fundamental human right into a commodity.

MARCH 2014

New Frontlines of War: Corporations, Conflict and Community Resistance

UNISON Northern are hosting the Newcastle leg of War on Want’s #Frontlines tour, with speakers from Nigeria, Colombia, Palestine and the UK.

Join us for an inspirational evening to hear from our international speakers about their inspirational stories of resistance against human rights abuses through education and active campaigns. Find out about corporate abuses, struggles over the control of resources and the aggressive spread of militarism across the world- and what YOU can do about it.

Read more


Conor McArdle nominated for Branch International Officer

Conor McArdle's nomination for Branch International Officer is unopposed so there will not be an election to this post at the Branch AGM on 10 February 2014.

Here is Conor's's assessment of the challenges facing the branch in the coming year.

International solidarity has been a key component of our branch’s work for many years as we recognise that in a globalised world of multinational employers, the struggle for worker’s rights increasingly goes beyond a country’s borders. The trade union movement is therefore a worldwide family; we forge links so we can campaign, learn and grow stronger together.

As the Conservatives maintain their pressure on local government, this year will be difficult for the branch on a number of levels. The challenge for the International Officer is to ensure international solidarity maintains its relevance in times of austerity at home. In order to do this, my role will be to continue to demonstrate the importance of our international activity at both branch and regional level.

Our branch’s priority international areas are Colombia, Palestine and Cuba. Last year saw us support the region’s successful projects working with organisations within the south-west Valle del Cauca region of Colombia. It is my intention to continue to work closely with the region in this area and provide updates on the project’s progress. It is also my intention to help organise a regional event around Palestine before the summer.

In terms of our branch activity, I will continue to provide reports to Branch Committee around international issues. I will also arrange themed meetings across each of our priority areas in order to encourage other members to get involved.


URGENT: Take action to protect our threatened Colombian partners:

A death threat has been left at the office of War on Want’s partner organisation Nomadesc. The note specifically threatens the lives of four human rights defenders: Berenice Celeita and Olga Araujo of Nomadesc; Alfamir Castillo of the Women Sugar Cane Cutters Committee and Martha Giraldo of the National Movement of Victims of State Crimes. It states that all four will be punished with death.

Please take action at:

Regional International Forum

The forum met on 11th November at the Regional Office. Phil Lenton gave a presentation on the Jafra Foundation’s work in the Yarmouk Palestinian Refugee Camp in Damascus, Syria. Phil is due to visit Lebanon in December and will provide further details on how we, as a region, can help give Palestinian refugees a voice.

We have also committed to holding an event around Palestine next year with War on Want.

Message of support to the people of the Philippines

UNISON has sent a message of support and sincere condolences to all those across the Philippines suffering from the devastation caused by the typhoon.

The union has made a donation of £10,000 to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), and has contacted our sister unions in the region. General Secretary Dave Prentis said: "We're sending a message of support to all those in the Philippines whose lives have been devastated, and solidarity to the public service workers working so hard to clear up the wreckage."

Tell High Street brands to make their Bangladeshi factories safe

By signing up to a union-backed Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh UNISON members are among the thousands who have written to support Bangladeshi factory workers by urging high street brands to improve safety and working conditions in their factories.

River Island and Matalan have signed up to the accord since the petition started, joining more than 80 other brands, including H+M, Zara, Next, Primark, New Look and Debenhams - but six brands still need convincing.

"All workers should have the right to go to work safe in the knowledge that they will return home unharmed," says UNISON head of health and safety Tracey Harding.

"We are urging our members to sign this petition and remind high street retailers that they have a moral duty to look after the safety of workers, regardless of what part of the world they live and work in.

"If we all sign up we can make a real difference to the health and safety of others."

You can help by sending an email to one, or more, of the brands which have still to sign the accord by using the TUC Going to Work website.

Articles of Interest

‘There is no Palestinian issue for Syrian rebels’:

'Syria is not a revolution anymore – this is civil war':

‘Drone Wars’:

‘Community Leader Killed in Colombia’:

You can read Conor McCardle's full report to December's Branch Committee here.


Read more in Conor McCardle's report



New on Site


Learning at Work Week

15-21 May 2017. The theme this year is Curious and Creative for Learning at Work Week.

Distance Courses

Starting 24 April 2017, these courses can be done online or paper based.


NEC Elections

Branch nominations and ballot details.

'There For You’ Newsletter

This newsletter includes an update on the changes to the Bereavement Support Payment as well as contact details for ‘Down to Earth’, who provide practical and emotional support throughout the funeral process.


Branch Lottery

Winners in March.

Labour Research Department Fact 79/13

Executive pay bandwagon rolls on

Cycle courier entitled to holiday pay

Employment law changes this April

New minimum wage rates kick in

UK lags on maternity

Merger heralds new teaching union

Consultation on caste discrimination



New courses for members and stewards.

Labour Research Department Fact 79/12

Inflation leaps to 3.2%

More regulation of gig economy needed

Appalling risk of suicides in construction

Fat cats — the great pay divide

Racist abuse after Brexit vote

Lack of diversity at top in Wales


Branch Committee

Papers for the meeting on Monday 3 April.


Regional Disabled Members Group

Meeting on Tuesday 28 March 2017 at 4.30pm.

Misogyny as a Hate Crime

Nottinghamshire Police have taken the bold step to identify misogyny as a hate crime and Northern UNSION are keen for this to be replicated in our region. The aim of the event is to identify how we can move the issue forward across the region with all three Police and Crime Commissioners.

Labour Research Department Fact 79/11

Swings and scooters of inflation basket

No real improvement in weekly earnings

Cosmetic improvement with Living Wage

Zero-hours contracts at record high

Unemployment falls below 1.6 million


AGM 2017

Agenda and annual report.

Labour Research Department Fact 79/10

Economic forecasts in Hammond's Budget

Mixed fortunes in ethnic women's pay gap data

Company merger and acquisitions in 2016

Numbers on zero-hours contracts at a high

GMB take on DX delivery firm

Former chancellor's nice big earner

Charter to stop violence at work


March/Rally for Durham Teaching Assistants

Saturday 25 March. Hear grassroots, union and guest speakers and watch the Reel News film showing the Durham Teaching Assistants’ story.

LGBT Policy weekend

Saturday 25 March, to plan UNISON LGBT activities for the year ahead.

HOPE Not Hate Event

A joint training session for trade union and community activists on how to organise to defeat the politics of division.  18 March 2017.

NE People’s Assembly

March calendar of events and activities.

Labour Research Department Fact 79/9

Trade Union Act regs come into force

Gender pension gap leaves women short

Violence at work — the nasty truth

Bookseller's £7m salary

Money purchase pension are norm

British Gas denied appeal in Lock case

Government fails in ethnicity review


Branch Committee

Papers for the meeting on Monday 6 March.

Retired members

Papers for the retired members' meeting on 17 March.


Branch Lottery

Winners in February.

Workers Memorial Day

Morning seminar and afternoon remembrance service in Hartlepool on Friday 28 April 2017. There is also an Eve of WMD ‘Gig’ on Thursday 27 April.


Labour Research Department Fact 79/8

Government green paper on pensions

A 'Stern diet' for fat cat directors' pay

Employers — don't miss out on talent

Argos repays £2.4 million to 37,000 staff

Economic growth revised upwards

Work fears of disabled people revealed

In the papers

Migrants have helped make Britain. It’s time to celebrate us

NHS at breaking point, according to British Medical Association

Councils prepare to cut essential services to fund adult social care

London transport spending equivalent to £1,500 more per head than North East


Labour Research Department Fact 79/7

Minimum wage cheats named and shamed

Inflation hits three-year high

Unemployment at 11-year low

Inflation erodes growth in weekly earnings

In the papers

Migrants are always the scapegoats. But now they’re taking on Ukip’s lies

I, Daniel Blake is a realistic depiction of life on benefits. Isn’t it?

English social care system for elderly facing 'complete collapse'

North East peers want law to make Government investigate impact of Brexit on region

North East recruitment drive revealed as jobless total in region rises

UK employment growth driven by foreign nationals, figures show

The NHS needs a rethink. Its priorities no longer make sense

Top Labour politicians come to 'UKIP area' Sunderland for Brexit debates and festival

Rothbury Community Hospital inpatient ward closure public meeting this week

Shopping will cost you more as prices rise, but is Brexit to blame?

Campaigners calling for u-turn over Post Office move

UK labour shortages reported as EU worker numbers fall

Britons living in the EU face Brexit backlash, leaked paper warns

Then the Daily Mail came for Gary Lineker, and we said: ‘Enough!’

Brexit survey revealed: What you would do if given second shot at EU referendum

Booming gig economy costs £4bn in lost tax and benefit payouts, says TUC

There will be a shameful betrayal of the Brexit low-paid

Welcome to the new dark ages, where only the wealthy can retire

NHS 'pays £7.5m a year for 20 most expensive agency doctors'

Drive to bring health and social care together is a well-intentioned mess


Disabled Members Policy Weekend

Sunderland, 19/20 May 2017.

Members training

Sign Language (BSL) Introduction, 2 March 2017

Dementia Workshop, 30 March 2017

Reps training

Regional Education Calendar 2017

In the papers

A&E in England had worst delays ever in January, leak suggests

Why was Newcastle Council leader Nick Forbes the star of Prime Minister's questions?

Number of patients stuck in hospital 'far higher than NHS data shows'

It's time corporate tax dodgers started losing lucrative council contracts

More council housing needed in the North East - government report reveals

Council tax, youth funding and bins: 6 things to look out for from Sunderland budget meeting

TyneMet and South Tyneside colleges merger: What it means for jobs, campuses and its new name?

Labour Research Department Fact 79/6

Review of tribunal fees finally published

Plan to tackle abusive hiring practices

Insecure work on rise

Twenty eight directors share £68.37 million


Affiliations and donations

A list of affiliations and donations that the branch committee has approved since January 2015.


In the papers

UK faces return to inequality of Thatcher years, says report

NHS ID scheme could deter eligible patients, say MPs

Councils may cut social care provision due to underfunding, LGA says

Nursery schools: ‘What society gives children less chance than their parents?’

Council tax rise planned for Northumberland residents as authority faces £36m cuts

'Trump can't hack Trebs' - the best signs from Newcastle anti-Trump demonstration

Labour Research Department Fact 79/5

Racism at work

Economy grows but there's a shortfall

Advice on gender pay gap from Acas

Tories offer no solution on discrimination

Eight assaults a day in Welsh schools


A quarterly periodical updating branch reps on employment law.


Branch Lottery

Winners in January.


Young Members

Northern Region Young Members AGM

Black Members

UNISON Northern Region Black Members Forum AGM 2017.

LV Car Insurance

Discounted car insurance for UNISON members.


North East March and Rally for #ourNHS

In Newcastle on Saturday 4 February.

Branch Committee

Papers for the meeting on 6 February.

Labour Research Department Fact 79/4

Death by a thousand fire service cuts

Guidance on stress

Modern-day slave traders jailed

Fees let bad bosses get off scot free

Top-ranked inclusive employers 2017

Get tough on pay, says pension funds


Women's Network AGM

Agenda and nomination form for the mmeting on 4 February.

Disabled Members

Annual Meeting of the Regional Disabled Members Self Organised Group on Tuesday 31 January 2017.

Members training

Mental Health Awareness Workshop on Thursday 16 February.

Labour Research Department Fact 79/3

Wales to ditch parts of 2016 Trade Union Act

Inflation rates at highest since 2014

Retail inflation eating into earnings growth

UK unemployment at nine-year low

In the Papers

Public sector pay poised to fall by thousands in real terms, TUC says

May’s promise on workers’ rights is hollow if she doesn’t get a deal

NHS crisis: the one act of self-sacrifice that could rescue our health service

Politicians have ignored the working class for too long

World's eight richest people have same wealth as poorest 50%

Crisis, what NHS crisis? Theresa May must stop this denial

Welsh government tables bill to overturn Trade Union Act


Anne Frank Trust Exhibition

UNISON have now been allocated two spots on the 16 January to have guided tours around the Anne Frank exhibition. 

Labour Research Department Fact 79/2

Courier's tribunal win against CitySprint

TUC warns over Brexit threat to workers' rights

Lame excuses for not paying minimum wage

High street store fined over safety

Manufacturing output edges higher

Child poverty briefing


Branch Lottery

Winners in December.


The Trade Union Act and UNISON's Political Fund

Consultation on political fund review: December-January

Reading Ahead

We are having our first Reading Ahead launch at Welford Learning Zone on 11 January between 10am and 11am.

Trade Union Reps courses

Book now to secure your place on one of the courses for Reps at Newcastle College starting in January 2017.

Northern Region Training Programme

UNISON courses in 2017. These courses are free and open to all members unless otherwise stated.

Labour Research Department Fact 79/1

'Precarious pay penalty' of zero-hours staff

Plans for a Universal Basic Income

2017 — economic forecasts for year

'Fat Cat Wednesday' has been and gone

Northern Ireland to reveal political gifts

UK's deficit in trade in goods gets ever worse

UK economic growth revised upwards