Huge membership rise for UNISON Scotland ahead of new ad campaign launch

A new ad campaign, aimed at increasing the record number of public service workers who’ve joined UNISON Scotland 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 Scotland is currently experiencing a membership surge, with more than 10,000 workers joining the trade union this year. That’s an increase of 149% on the same period in 2019.

In Scotland, there has been a surge of new members working in health and social care, particularly in April, prompted by UNISON’s campaigning and negotiations on behalf of the workforce during the coronavirus pandemic. New members also report they welcome the advice and support they receive.

This membership surge has been reflected across the UK, where UNISON has seen significant growth across public sector.

Peter Hunter, Unison regional manager said: “Public service workers have been joining UNISON in unprecedented numbers. Even when times are good, everyone in work should be in a union. With the added challenges of living with coronavirus, 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.

In Scotland we have seen surges in new members who are working in social care, where recruitment is up by over 200%.

“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 Scotland’s biggest trade 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. It is the largest trade union in Scotland with over 150,000 members
  • 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:
Trisha Hamilton: 07943 507307
Danny Phillips: 07944 664110