Unite

Negotiations at Barnoldswick

Negotiations between Unite union reps and bosses at the Rolls Royce plant in Barnoldswick, Lancashire, continue, following workers’ rejection of management’s latest proposal for ending the dispute against job cuts. After strikes in 2020 against job cuts and offshoring secured an agreement to retain work at the site, the dispute was sparked back into life this year after management reneged on their commitments. After a small section of the workforce launched new strikes, the rest of the workforce also voted to take industrial action. Union officers say they are cautiously optimistic about the...

Helping Len rewrite his history

The autobiography of Unite union leader Len McCluskey, Always Red, sounds pretty good — if you believe the Morning Star. The paper calls it “an incisive political memoir with lessons for the entire left.” If so, then Always Red must be a considerable improvement upon Len’s previous literary effort, the banal and self-regarding Why You Should Be A Trade Unionist, published in 2020 but written before the 2019 election (Len’s explanation for this strange timing being that the book “never was intended to be a political rallying cry”). Mind you, the Morning Star’s editor Ben Chacko reckons Always...

Silence at Labour conference on NHS pay

Trade unions, the Labour left and Labour NHS campaigners failed to raise the issue of NHS pay at Labour Party conference – or, more exactly, did not try. Rank-and-file NHS workers, organised through NHS Workers Say No, Nurses United and other networks as well as their various unions, are focusing on a difficult struggle to get industrial action off the ground. Some of them were invited to speak at various fringe meetings at the conference. But beyond that minimal gesture there was little attempt by unions and Labour activists present at the conference to use it to boost NHS workers’ campaign...

Barnoldswick workers reject deal

Workers at the Rolls Royce plant in Barnoldswick have voted overwhelmingly to reject an offer from management aimed at settling the latest phase of a dispute over job losses. The offer does not include a key union demand, for a five-year guarantee of no compulsory redundancies, and workers feel it does not go far enough in terms of concrete guarantees to implement previous commitments around minimum staffing levels. The deal was rejected unanimously by the works section, and by 98.5% by other staff. Unite will now organise meetings of its members to discuss next steps, which could include a...

GKN workers launch all-out strike

Workers at the GKN Drivelines factory in Birmingham, which produces parts for cars, will launch an indefinite strike from 27 September, in an attempt to resist the closure of the plant. The closure, which is slated to take place in 2022, would see the loss of 500 jobs. A Unite statement said: “Due to the ‘just in time’ nature of the automotive industry supply chain, strike action will very quickly affect production at several of the UK’s car plants, primarily Jaguar Land Rover, but Nissan and Toyota will also be heavily affected.” In 1976, workers facing job losses at Lucas Aerospace produced...

Barnoldswick workers to vote

Workers at the Rolls Royce plant in Barnoldswick will vote on a new proposal from management, following further strikes by a section of the workforce in July, and a subsequent vote by the entire workforce for further action. It looks likely that the workers’ union, Unite, will not recommend acceptance of the proposal, as it does not include one of the workers’ key demands, for a five-year no-compulsory-redundancies guarantee. The last phase of the dispute at Barnoldswick began after Rolls Royce announced it was reneging on an agreement, secured following extensive strikes in 2020, to guarantee...

Motions to Unite Policy Conference

Unite the Union's Policy Conference meets every two years. The 2020 conference was delayed to 2021 due to the pandemic, and will meet in Liverpool, 18-22 October. You can download the preliminary agenda with motions to the conference here.

After Sharon Graham's election, some immediate ideas to change Unite

Scrap all Regional Secretary posts. Overhaul the Legal Department. End meddling in lay-member democracy by full-timers. Reformat meetings of constitutional committees. Campaign for union policy on scrapping anti-union laws. Review support for the Morning Star. These are the proposals which a motion passed by my Unite branch earlier this month called on the higher levels of the union’s constitutional committees to give consideration to. The motion was passed in the context of, and on the basis of, Sharon Graham’s election as Unite General Secretary. Graham stood on a platform of change, a focus...

Reject the NHS pay award

The trade union consultations on the NHS pay award are coming to an end. The Unison ballot runs until 10 September, the RCN finishes on 13th, GMB on 17th, and Unite on 24th. The next days and weeks are the last chance for members to vote and for activists to get out and encourage them to reject. The award doesn’t get anywhere near the claims of the unions. All have stated that it is not good enough. RCN, GMB and Unite have recommended rejection. It is likely that all the results will be to reject the deal. It’s obvious to all NHS workers that a lower than inflation pay award of 3% is...

What the numbers of the Unite election say

The 2021 Unite the Union General Secretary election appears to have continued the pattern of a declining turnout in each General Secretary election since the union’s creation.

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