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SWU Union Contact Scheme

SWU are recruiting for members in Scotland to join the Union Contact Scheme. You must be a member of SWU to apply for this role. Previous union experience is useful but not essential, genuine enthusiasm and interest in trade unionsim and collective activism is welcomed. 

SWU is a relatively new Trade Union (established in 2011) - but also one of the fastest growing specialist trade unions, according to figures published by the General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU). 

As a SWU Union Contact you will: 

  • Be the first point of contact for anyone in the workplace/university in relation to joining and getting involved in SWU - you will receive all relevant training, paperwork, materials and contact details in order to successfully do this.


  • Encourage membership within your workplace or university by providing leaflets/flyers/promotional merchandise and materials which can be delivered to your home address or place of work for your convenience.


  • Be an essential contact for SWU when we and members need to exchange information and ideas - you will be kept up to date with campaign details and materials to share and distribute to colleagues.


  • Promote and be involved in campaigns, events, meetings and rallies attended by SWU (depending upon your availability and commitments).  Examples of these are the Working Conditions Campaign which SWU has helped establish and maintain, and the excellent Durham Miners Trade Union Gala which is attended by SWU, and there are many other opportunities throughout the year.


  • You will receive induction training, regular contact and updates, newsletters, Facebook group, with a focus upon strengthening the union and ensuring you are happy and confident in your role.


  • Make use of the excellent training courses and programmes provided by the GFTU (General Federation of Trade Unions) which are mostly free to SWU members and which can be viewed in the following link to their online catalogue:


  • Undertake workplace representational tasks* if this is something that interests you.  (*Following an additional period of training provided by SWU & BASW).


Union Contact Induction Meetings include presentations from Carol Reid, SWU National Organiser and Contact Scheme Manager and John McGowan, General Secretary of SWU, as well as activities and information relating to trade union recruitment, campaigning and activism.  SWU are also delighted to have the support of Dr Neil Thompson, a highly respected figure in UK social work, who delivers a learning session, and provides each participating Union Contact with free access to his online programme and a free copy of his new book "The Social Workers Practice Manual". 

Induction meetings mostly take place in Manchester and we cover the cost of travel and accommodation, however we are keen to initiate inductions in Scotland and will be happy to arrange this once we are aware of how many of our valued members wish to get involved. 


SWU have also developed a Phase 2 Union Contacts, enabling Union Contacts to support colleagues in their workplaces when attending meetings such as:

  • Stage 1 Sickness absence meetings - largely information-sharing meetings triggered when an employee has been on sick leave for a given period.


  • Short notice meetings - when an employee is going to be suspended or advised about other action that is being proposed against them. 


  • Investigation meetings - when a BASW/SWU member has been asked to attend as a ‘witness’ in an action against a colleague.


This workplace support is vital to members, particularly when they know that the Union Contact assisting them is also a qualified social worker who is fully aware of the complexities and demands of the job.  This an exciting opportunity for SWU which enables the Union to be more visible and vocal within workplaces and beyond.


You can join SWU easily online. 

If you are interested in getting involved, please contact Carol Reid


Further information