United Network is a social media platform created by the Staff Union of the UN-ICTY to cater to the needs of individuals that work in international organisations and the not-for-profit sector.


A few days ago we wrote about the ideology of social networks, and announced the launch of our Organising Network. We pointed out that even though they are useful to us, the social networks we all use serve someone else’s agenda: at best, an advertising opportunity, at worst spying.

The Staff Union of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has clearly been thinking along the same lines: in the United Nations system, a very high proportion of jobs are fixed term contracts, and workers move from post to post, around the world, moving between the UN, international NGOs and other humanitarian roles.

LinkedIn is a useful tool for these workers, as it helps them to hear about job opportunities, and to network with people in the countries they move to. But it is not ideal, so the Staff Unions have created an alternative: United Network fills the same functions as linked in. but also provides organising opportunities.

People who sign up to United Network are able to network with colleagues who work in the same field. It’s also a great place to look for jobs, as vacancies are posted there – like an online union hiring hall.

UN Staff Unions have had ongoing problems: last year, the Secretary General of the UN, Ban-Ki Moon, unilaterally de-recognised the unions, stripping them of their labour rights. UN unions don’t have any recourse to the law, either: because their remit is international, the don’t fall into the jurisdiction of any country’s labour law.

The union believes that stripping UN workers of their collective bargaining rights places staff in danger, particularly in the conflict zones workers frequently find themselves in.

The ICTY Staff Union is part of a federation of unions in the United Nations system called CCISUA. CCISUA is affiliated to the General Federation of Trade Unions in the UK, and through them to the international union movement.

As the union puts it:

Sign-up to United Network: a new way for NGO staff and volunteers to connect with the right people & opportunities!

United Network is a social media platform created by the Staff Union of the UN-ICTY to cater to the needs of individuals that work in international organisations and the not-for-profit sector. It is aimed at promoting career mobility within different organisations and building stronger communities among humanitarian workers.

Social media has incredible leverage within the not-for-profit sector. But to date, most do not observe high privacy and ethical standards. United Network seeks to resolve this – a social network built by people in the sector for others like us.

It is free, and a great alternative to other for-profit social media sites. It operates at a no-cost basis and applies an open membership policy complemented by high privacy and ethical standards. There is no data sharing with private companies

Sign-up and spread the word!

The network launches tomorrow. Please help spread the word by joining this Thunderclap:

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License.
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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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