Members should read ALL the following sections carefully before making an application for a Hardship Payment as a result of Industrial Action. If further clarification is required please contact the Branch Secretary:

Hardship payments may be made to members who suffer loss of pay due to taking part in lawfully called industrial action, in line with guidelines issued by the National Executive Council and assessment criteria adopted by the Branch. In considering requests from members for such payments the Branch has adopted criteria to ensure a consistent approach.

Branch Criteria for Hardship Payments

  • A hardship payment will only be considered in cases where the loss of pay created a genuine and pressing financial difficulty for the member’s household, that cannot be left until subsequent wages/salary are received and cannot reasonably be met by other appropriate means. In effect these would be in relation to meeting essential domestic, health and legal considerations and would not necessarily be the full amount of lost pay.
  • Any hardship payment will take into account the up to £70 per day National Strike Fund pay which members who take strike action will be eligible for and which will also be paid via the Branch

Points to note

  • Payment will only be made on the basis of demonstrated need.
  • Members must have informed us in person or via email that they have taken strike action
  • We understand that members in receipt of means-tested benefits, such as Housing Benefit and Universal Credit are particularly adversely affected by loss of pay.
  • Hardship payments are NOT intended to cover short-term inconvenience or “going without”.
  • Hardship payments DO NOT take account of unsecured credit commitments (credit/store cards, loan repayments, etc).
  • It is recognised that members may be reticent to apply for hardship payments because it involves disclosing personal and sensitive information. Members should be assured that hardship payments exist for a real purpose, it is not ‘charity’, and there is no stigma or judgement attached.
  • To maintain the strictest confidentiality, member’s applications will only be considered by the Branch Welfare Officer, Branch Treasurer and Branch Secretary. Where a request is turned down the member can choose to have their application reviewed by the Branch Chair. All records and correspondence will be held in a restricted access file at the Branch Office. Where any details of payments are required to be reported elsewhere for reasons of accountability, rule or probity then it will be done anonymously.

The Branch encourages all members, especially those on low pay, to lodge a claim if they believe they suffered pressing financial difficulty as a result of the strike. Hardship payments can only be considered for UNISON members who were in membership, or had an application for membership in process, at the time of the industrial action leading to the loss of pay. 

To make a claim for the Hardship Fund, please send the Branch a copy of the pay slip showing deductions for industrial action and a previous pay slip showing the full amount usually paid. The Branch will also need a brief explanation of why your household has been placed in pressing financial difficulty as a result of the strike. We will also require bank account details (name on account, sort code and account number) for any BACS transfers.

Please send all three documents via:

  • internal post to the UNISON Office, Room 7.50, EC Stoner Bldg
  • email to with the subject line ‘Hardship Fund’
  • in person to the Branch Office (Monday-Thursday)