Unison was formed in 1993 from white-collar union NALGO, manual union NUPE and health workers' union COHSE. Most branches that represented these unions have merged, but some still have not as the 1997 deadline nears.
The coming together of the Middlesbrough No 1 branch, represented by former NALGO members, and the Middlesbrough No 2 branch, represented by former NUPE members, was the first in a series of 'supervised mergers'.
Under the eye of national vice-president Pat Ingram, who chaired an inaugural meeting the week before the new branch officially opened, national officers explained the new constitution to members.
'We want to get on with the job of representing our members rather than this personal backbiting that is so divisive.'