Twitter and the Labour Leadership

The campaign for the next Labour leader is on. For the next couple of months there will be memes, blogs, twibbons, and hashtags all over Twitter, but how should you manage a UNISON related account during the campaign?

If you use Twitter or Facebook for your personal life or union work, it’s hard to avoid the subject of the Labour leadership. Here’s some guidance on running a UNISON related account during the campaign.

Who does UNISON support?

UNISON members who pay into the affiliated political fund are being consulted on the leadership election and that consultation will feed into the Labour Link committee which will then decide whether to make a recommendation and if so, for which candidate.

Until then, UNISON does not have a formal position in favour or against any candidate. While it’s fine to have your say on your personal social media, it is important for official accounts not to be used in a way which implies UNISON endorsement of any candidate.

For this reason, official UNISON accounts from regions and national groups have to be careful that what they tweet or retweet does not favour any particular candidate

So, on our UNISON national accounts, we won’t be:

  • tweeting or retweeting content which supports or opposes any candidate.
  • tweeting or retweeting content which includes a hashtag supporting or opposing any candidate.

If you’re promoting a UNISON or local campaign, please don’t add a candidate hashtag or name – even if a candidate is supporting your campaign. We won’t be able to share your post – but we really want to promote your activities! So please bear this in mind.

Helping UNISON members get involved

  • if you get queries about the leadership election or how UNISON members can take part, direct them to our Labour leader 2016 website
  • People who were UNISON members and members of the affiliated political fund (APF) before 12 January 2016 are entitled to register as a Labour supporter for free before 10am on 8 August and get a vote
  • UNISON members can check if they are APF members, register to vote and take part in our consultation 
  • We’ve had lots of positive feedback from members about consulting members, so please do encourage others to get involved

Official and regional UNISON accounts

  • Should not add a Twibbon supporting or opposing any candidate to your UNISON account.
  • Make sure any information in the bio or header photos on your account does not promote or oppose any candidate.
  • Be extra careful if you also post to a personal account – make sure that if you are venting about politics, you are logged into your personal account not an official one!

UNISON Branches and reps

Any position you as an individual, or your branch takes on the Labour leadership or promote is not officially endorsed by UNISON. So, if members ask, please make them aware that UNISON Labour Link is consulting and there is no national decision as yet. Make it clear any opinion or preference is strictly your own.

Be sensitive to the fact that UNISON members have their own views and that the union is open to everyone.  Try not to get into public discussions with other UNISON members, and please be respectful at all times.

If your account is clearly related to UNISON – by branch name, or in your bio, then it is especially important you are clear about the union’s official position.

UNISON staff

UNISON staff are covered by our employer’s general guidance on the use of social media for UNISON staff. You can find it on the staff Sharepoint under HR policies>ICT.

If you are tweeting in a personal capacity, make it clear in your bio that your views are your own and are not endorsed by the union.


If you’re not sure about anything, just ask in the comments below, or email and mark it for Alison. 

Be careful, but don’t panic – keep tweeting and posting about UNISON and how it supports its members!