Use of PEST analysis at UNISON
A UNISON case study

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Page 1: Introduction

UNISON is Britain and Europe's biggest public sector trade union, representing more than 1.3 million members working in public services. Job roles they represent in the public sector include, for example:

  • librarians
  • Human Resources, IT and finance workers
  • teaching assistants and early years nursery staff
  • secretaries
  • cleaners, caretakers and school meals supervisors
  • care workers, social workers and nurses.

UNISON campaigns on a variety of issues relevant to its members. Currently, it is running the Migrant Workers Participation Project. This campaign focuses on the issues faced by migrant workers in the UK. Migrant workers are employees who have moved from overseas to the UK to find work. They form an important and growing part of the workforce in both the private sector and public sector.

These workers are at particular risk of being exploited in the workplace. This may be due to lack of knowledge of their rights, their limited command of the English language and the fact that they are often reluctant to complain about their treatment by employers. They may also be exploited because of racist attitudes. UNISON believes that the best way of preventing exploitation is through trade union representation in the workplace. One of the objectives of the current UNISON campaign is to increase the number of migrant workers who are part of the union.

When making decisions, a business needs to take account of internal and external factors:

  • Internal factors are ones that are within its control. Examples include how many staff the business employs, the number of machines it uses and how much money owners choose to invest in the business.
  • External factors are those that are outside of its control. These may be direct or indirect influences. Direct influences include suppliers, customers and competitors. Indirect influences include legislation, the economy or technology.

These external influences are summarised by the mnemonic PEST. This stands for Political, Economic, Social and Technological influences.

UNISON looks at a range of issues to assess the external factors it needs to take account of when considering the needs of its members. UNISON considered these factors when setting its aims and objectivesfor protecting the rights of migrant workers. An understanding of many external factors helped it to decide which strategies and tactics were best for achieving these objectives.

Find out more about Unison

UNISON | Use of PEST analysis at UNISON