Guidance for Non-Striking Union Members

Guidance for UNISON members when other unions are engaged in industrial action and UNISON is not.

We all have the human right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of our interests. Industrial action, including strike action, is legal and protected if it follows the rules laid down in the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.

At times members of other unions will be involved in industrial action including strike action when UNISON is not.

In such situations UNISON members should carry out their duties as per normal. They should not carry out duties normally done by colleagues taking industrial action. If UNISON members are asked to do this, they should contact their steward/branch for advice.

Whilst UNISON members can show solidarity with those on a picket line, they should not actually join another union’s picket line(s).

Strike action is notified in advance and will usually be well known – If anyone decides not to cross a picket line they should first ask the employer (in advance where possible) to identify a suitable alternative place of work.

If a member does not cross a picket line or report for work they will not be taking part in lawful industrial action, they could be deemed to be taking unlawful secondary action and will not have recourse to UNISON for representation.

UNISON branches should be aware that industrial action/hardship funds cannot be used to assist members who lose pay due to not reporting to work on days when UNISON is not on strike.

UNISON branches may be supportive of the matter in dispute and show solidarity to the union(s) involved in the industrial action.  Whilst not picketing or taking industrial action they may organise other local protests and rallies etc and early joint liaison should be arranged.

Updated: November 2022

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