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Your Comms Group Case Studies.

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We're passionate about supporting all kinds of businesses - and Unison is one of our biggest and longest-standing clients. Here's how we've been helping them for over a decade.


A little bit about Unison

At YCG, we work with businesses and organisations of all types and all sizes, from the smallest of SMEs to the largest big businesses around, and the nature of our work means we get to see the different demands and changing environments each of them faces.

One of our big clients is the UK’s largest public sector trade union, Unison – an organisation that represents and fights for the rights and working conditions of 1.3 million employees across the UK (many of whom are employed by privately owned or run organisations).

Unison was formed in 1993 as a result of a merger between three of the largest trade unions in the UK at the time – NALGO (which represented local government employees), NUPE (representing public sector employees in a wide range of sectors that included education, health and government), and COHSE (which specialised in the health sector).

Today, Unison is headquartered between Euston and Kings Cross in London and itself employs approximately 1,200 staff, mainly operating out of more than 1,000 branch offices in 12 regions around the country.

It also has a thousand more volunteers (including, but not limited to, shop stewards and campaigners) who help to deliver the union’s services in every corner of the United Kingdom.

Whichever way you slice it, this is a very big, very complex organisation that needs to be very agile and very dynamic.

How one views the importance of the work they do inevitably depends to a large extent on political inclination, but the essence of the principle that underpins that work – to ensure its members across the public and private sectors are treated fairly and equally by the government and their employers – is unlikely to be argued by many.

Thank you for your incredible work over the last month or so. You and your team have been excellent, responding brilliantly to everything we have asked of you. You and your team have contributed to UNISON’s efforts to continue to provide the support our members need in unprecedented times and our collective battle against Covid-19 for which we are very appreciative.
Stephanie Thomas
Assistant General Secretary

The fact is any trade union is the thin line of resistance that ensures employers can’t deliberately or unintentionally exploit their workers.

Without organisations like Unison, we may not have had a minimum wage or a broad agreement on how many hours constitutes a reasonable working week.

It’s also true to say that Unison represents some of the most vulnerable and low paid staff working in the UK today.

Given our sponsorship and support of the Care Workers Charity, we have a particular interest in the fortunes and interests of those working in the care sector. But as a business that runs according to a very clear set of ethics, we’re proud to be supplying Unison with the mobile technology that keeps it operating efficiently.

When you think about the 1,000 branch offices that make up Unison’s network of staff around Britain, it becomes clear how the scale of the logistics needed to keep the organisation running impacts on daily process.

The communications and data management policies and protocols ultimately dictate how a huge amount of personal information is handled on a daily basis.

Additionally, like any union, Unison also has a strategic wing whose mission it is to influence government policy – which also translates into a wealth of sensitive commercial and political information that needs to be managed responsibly.

The efficiency and effectiveness of all of that day-to-day work begins with the way in which Unison staff – from those in branches, to regional and national staff – are able to communicate with one another.

Our relationship with the union started back in 2019 when we upgraded 2,250 Unison mobile user connections to EE via Your Comms Group. Unison is one of our largest customers and we value the work that they do and what they stand for greatly, so we want to make sure we meet all of their requirements no matter the scale.

Where we stepped in

Unison faced some very common problems that we see on a daily basis, (albeit on a larger scale) so we felt that we were prepared to offer them a more than adequate solution.

They wanted to:

  • Reduce overall spend
  • Deal with an ethical company
  • Control and limit bill shock
  • Roll out new devices for 2000 users
  • Install Mobile Device Management on all devices, with preloaded personal settings for each user within applications such as outlook
unison 2

The YCG solution

We can find you exactly the right tariff – we won’t sell you more than you need – so we managed to reduce Unison’s spend from an average of over £50k per month to consistently less than £35k per month. That’s a win in anyone’s book!

We are signed up to electronics watch – a not-for-profit non-government organisation which helps public sector organisations work together and collaborate with civil society monitors in production regions to protect the rights of workers in their electronics supply chains - from mining to manufacturing.

We are experts on all major networks’ mobile billing platforms, which helps us set up things like user-specific caps and alerts, and save Unison thousands each year.

Between April and July 2020 (in the first Coronavirus lockdown), we successfully managed a full kit refresh, deploying over 2000 new mobile handsets to all users – all of which came pre-configured with the Mobile Device Management (MDM) installed and pre-loaded personal settings for each individual user.

What came next?

What that MDM rollout meant was that the new phones were able to access – and benefit from the data security features of –all the appropriate software and systems operated by Unison that were critical to the user’s role.

This was achieved whilst also retaining all the existing numbers – meaning no clunky transition to new numbers that would have caused confusion and impacted in efficiency.

And last, but by no means least, we developed a new tariff model which saw the organisation migrate from a single user structure (effectively, each user’s device and SIM had previously been linked to its own account) to a more cost effective shared data bundle that led to contractual savings of around £500,000 annually.

So, an upgraded contract and brand new hardware for 2,250 connections, significantly increased security, better access for staff to systems, data and forms – all for half a million pounds less than they had been paying before.

We’re proud of the work we have done and continue to do with Unison, and are pleased to be part of something that protects the rights and conditions of so many people in the UK who are not always in a position to make their own voices heard.


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