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about us


UNICORN is a Global Unions Anti-corruption Network which aims to mobilise and support trade unions to combat corruption.


UNICORN was set up in 2001 as a joint initiative of three major international trade union bodies: The Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (the TUAC); Public Services International (PSI); and the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU).

UNICORN was initially established in response to the OECD Anti-bribery Convention. The Convention requires signatory countries to make it illegal for Multinational Companies (MNCs) to pay bribes to foreign public officials overseas. 

Today UNICORN responds to a broader agenda as combating corruption becomes central to a range of public policy objectives: democracy building, development, debt relief, and public sector reform. Trade unions are increasingly active and UNICORN aims to provide support through the dissemination of information/experiences and the development of education and training tools and materials. 

trade unions concerns

Workers and their trade unions are committed players in local and international efforts to combat corruption. Their concerns arise from: 

a unique contribution

Trade unions have a unique legitimacy within civil society to take up this global challenge. They are democratic, representative and globally connected. Importantly, they are also financially independent of both government and of corporations. 

There is also a high level of synergy between the anti-corruption agenda and trade unions’ core activities as negotiators with companies on behalf of workers and as campaigners for democracy, social reform and corporate accountability.

core activities  

UNICORN maintains a database driven web site which collates and disseminates policy and information on bribery involving MNCs and their subsidiaries. UNICORN also undertakes policy research on the following issues and organisations:  



UNICORN is located within Cardiff University’s School of Social Sciences and is part of the Global Political Economy Research Group, which specialises in academic and action-orientated research on globalisation and labour.


Kirstine Drew is UNICORN’s Project Manager. Kirstine monitors corruption allegations and convictions involving multinational companies and carries out related policy research. Kirstine is a member of the Programme Committee for the forthcoming 12th International Anti-corruption Conference (IACC).

Dr Ray Stoneham is UNICORN's indispensable IT consultant responsible for the design, implementation and general smooth-running of the database and database-generated web site.

UNICORN also draws on expertise within the Global Political Economy Group including:

UNICORN is a Global Unions Anti-corruption Network. It is supported by the international trade union bodies: the TUAC (Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD); Public Services International (PSI); and the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU).

UNICORN is financed by the Foundation Open Society Institute