The UNISON steward is the fundamental building block of workplace organisation. UNISON is committed to identifying, supporting and training as many members as possible to take on the role of steward or workplace contact.

Stewards might be active in different ways and to different degrees depending on their willingness and experience ranging from high-level negotiators to local contacts in the workplace.

Tasks relating to the post of steward (for references to stewards and workplace representatives in the text that follows, see Stewards and Workplace Representatives Handbook:

  • to be the first and main point of contact for members with the union

  • to recruit new members

  • to work with members to establish an organised workplace

  • to support and advise members on workplace issues

  • to act as a spokesperson for the members they represent and for the branch

  • to represent members with the employer, dependent on their experience and confidence

  • to represent members within the branch committee

  • to be answerable to the members they represent.


  • talk to members about their health and safety issues and work together with management to resolve these issues.

  • investigate potential hazards

  • raise concerns with your employer to improve safety in the workplace and deal with specific problems that arise at work

  • promote better health and safety in the workplace and encourage everyone to get involved in the union – UNISON is the union that gets things done.


Members who might not be willing to take on the full role of an elected steward can play a vital role in ensuring that UNISON has a presence in every workplace. Not an elected position, it can also prove a useful way for a member to gain experience or build confidence before making a further commitment.

Tasks relating to the post of workplace contact:

  • to be a point of contact between members and the branch

  • to recruit new members or introduce new employees to a branch officer

  • to give support to members at work by advising them where to seek assistance

  • to keep notice boards up to date

  • to distribute information sent by the branch for members.