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5th Uni Global Union World Congress Liverpool 17-20 June 2018


Making it Happen is the overarching theme for the Liverpool Congress and underlines the action-orientated nature of our global union work from grass-root organising, through campaigning for global agreements with multinationals to our role as a high-level influencer with organisations such as the ILO, the UN Global Compact, the G20 and the World Economic Forum. We are driven by our responsibility towards our affiliates, the workers they represent and the broader global community.

UNI Global Union has been working closely with the UK affiliates in the preparations for the 5th UNI Global Union World Congress and World Women’s Conference, which will take place from 14 to 20 June 2018 in Liverpool, UK. Record numbers of participants are expected. This will be the largest single global union gathering in the UK in 2018. The UNI events will bring a global dimension to the 150th TUC Anniversary and the centenary of women’s right to vote in the UK, as well as the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nelson Mandela.

Our goal is not just a well organised event. We are seeking to build a Congress that motivates, moves and demonstrates our determination to grow our unions and their influence.

The overall theme is “Making it Happen”. There is nothing defensive about our intent. We are ambitious and committed and we have a global union plan. The theme reflects our aim to show the world we are on the front foot.

The session on Breaking Through is about our global organising push. We have the most extensive union building plan of any Global Union. Our Global Organising Fund has proven of great value. Since the Cape Town Congress in 2014 and with the backing of our Global Organising Fund, UNI has supported 130 organising campaigns in 51 different countries. We have signed over 50 Global Framework Agreements – a policy initiative recognised in 2017 by the G20, which  supported the call for global framework agreement to bring responsible supply chains.

Our Congress will look at the Bangladesh Accord, which is now entering its second phase and has represented a major breakthrough in global supply chains.

UNI has taken the lead on the Future World of Work. We will devote half a day of the Congress to this and look at mega trends, policy requirements and how unions are innovating structures and plans. It will underline the role of unions in ensuring decent work in the digital future.

We will aim for record numbers of young people and women participants at the Congress. Participation in our World Women’s Conference looks to break the 1,000 mark.

Our media outreach is aiming at a global impact. The support and the cooperation we have enjoyed from the Liverpool Council has been tremendous and we think will leave a legacy in Liverpool and show we are ready to face the challenges of the next digital century.


The UNI World Women’s Conference and World Congress will be held in the Arena of the ACC, Kings Dock, Liverpool L3 4FP, United Kingdom

Dates and Events

June 14-15, 2018           UNI World Women’s Conference

June 16, 2018                UNI World Executive Board, UNI Africa Executive Committee, UNI Americas Executive Committee

June 17, 2018                 UNI World Congress Resolutions Committee

June 17, 2018                 UNI World Congress Opening Ceremony

June 18, 2018                 UNI World Congress Plenary and Congress Reception

June 19, 2018                 UNI World Congress Plenary and Congress Party

June 20, 2018                 UNI World Congress Plenary and Closing Ceremony

Marking Milestones

2018 marks a number of important milestones:

  • The 150th anniversary of the British TUC
  • The centenary of women’s right to vote in the UK
  • The 100th anniversary of the birth of Nelson Mandela
  • The 50th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King
  • The 10th anniversary of Liverpool having won European Capital of Culture
  • The 70th anniversary of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights

UK Affiliates and Congress Preparatory Team

UNI has eight UK affiliates: Accord, CWU, GMB, PCS, Prospect/BECTU, Unison, Unite the Union and Usdaw.

The Congress Preparatory Team, consisting of representatives of the UK affiliates, the TUC and the UNI secretariat meets regularly to prepare and coordinate arrangements in the run-up to the events.

Theme and Agenda

The main theme of the World Congress is “Making it Happen”.



It is estimated that around 1,000 participants at the World Women’s Conference and around 2,500 participants at the World Congress. The capacity of the ACC allows the possibility of a much larger audience for the Congress Opening Ceremony.


Partnership with Liverpool City Council and Culture Liverpool

The Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, who will address the opening ceremony and Liverpool City Council’s Claire McColgan, Director of Culture & Tourism, and Robin Kemp, Head of Creative Development, have provided outstanding support.

The Congress will ensure excellent community outreach and a legacy to the City of Liverpool.

The Mayor of Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheran, will also address the Congress closing ceremony.

Future of Work Season

2018 will be the 10th anniversary of Liverpool having won European Capital of Culture. The Council’s support for the UNI Congress includes making it an integral part of the Council’s Future of Work Season, which will include debates, events and cultural interventions related to the changing face of work and how to adapt to it. The journalist Stephanie Power and CEO and Artistic Director of FACT, Mike Stubbs, are working with the Council in the realisation of the season, which will also take in the International Business Festival 2018.

Community Legacy and Outreach

Nelson Mandela Memorial Project

UNI is supporting the TUC on the Nelson Mandela memorial project, to mark the 100th anniversary of his date of birth. This will take the form of a bridge to a small island in Princes Park. The project is fully backed by the Nelson Mandela Foundation. The first stage of fund-raising has been successful.

Future World of Work

Liverpool is seeking to position itself as a centre for Future World of Work thinking and outreach. UNI can continue to play a role in this initiative.


CNN Debate

CNN’s Richard Quest is from Liverpool and consultations are ongoing with respect to the structure and speakers of a CNN broadcasted debate on ending human trafficking and modern day slavery in today’s world of work.

Making It Happen for Women

In line with UNI’s 40% gender representation rule, the UNI World Executive has approved measures that will be implemented with the aim of improving the number women trade union representatives at the Liverpool Congress. The Congress Credentials Committee will be tasked with ensuring that the composition of all delegations respects this rule.

Making It Happen for Youth

UNI Youth has set the target of having at least 10% young participants at the Congress, i.e. under the age of 35.

Congress Opening Ceremony

The Congress Opening Ceremony will last around 2 hours from 16.00 to 18.00 on 17 June 2018. The cultural performance part of the programme is being put together under the direction of Andrew Sherlock.

International Slavery Museum

We are working with Liverpool’s International Slavery Museum, one of only two such museums in the world, with the potential to highlight issues of modern slavery in today’s world of work.

Research Project with Cardiff University

UNI has mandated Cardiff University with a research project on union innovations in the face of digitalization and artificial intelligence. The research will include case studies from around the world on what unions are doing in terms of new organising campaigns orientated towards the gig economy, new strategies in relation to digitalisation, new collective agreement strategies, and more.