Unite industrial action in local government – advice for UNISON members

Unite have announced that their members will be taking industrial action in 24 local authorities or council departments in England and Wales in September, in employers where they achieved a mandate for industrial action in their ballot in July. Unite have not provided us with a definitive list of employers or dates on which they will be taking action in those employers.

Members will be aware that after consideration of UNISON’s industrial action ballot results in England and Wales on NJC pay 2023, the NJC Committee decided not to pursue industrial action, on the grounds that we did not achieve a mandate in enough significantly sized employers in order to have effective action that would be make a difference to the national negotiations.

GMB, the other NJC trade union, are due to ballot members in some employers, mostly in schools, in September and October.

As a result of UNISON’s position, we are currently engaging with the other unions to find a solution to 2023 pay and get going with a strong, positive campaign for 2024 as soon as possible.

In the meantime, UNISON respects Unite’s decision to call strike action and we offer our solidarity to members of Unite in local government who are taking action.

There are of course legal restrictions on what trade union members can do when members of other unions are taking action, and members are asked to follow the advice below.


UNISON respects the rights of other trade unions to take industrial action and supports the other unions’ strike action. We urge members to support legal protests and rallies organised by Unite that take place outside your contracted hours of work.

However, UNISON members in local government are not taking industrial action, and are therefore advised to continue with their normal duties and responsibilities. UNISON members should not take on any additional responsibilities being given to them directly as a result of other unions’ industrial action.

Members who are under pressure to provide cover for striking colleagues should contact the branch office on 01744 676971 or enquiries@unisonsthelens.org.uk for further advice and support.

Members are reminded that due to industrial relations legislation only those employees who have been involved in a legal ballot are allowed to take industrial action.