Unite

Why we should support Sharon Graham for Unite general secretary

For debate and discussion about the election, see here. The election for the General Secretary of Unite presents an opportunity to elect a candidate with a genuinely radical vision of change — with shop stewards at the centre of it — and a track record of successfully confronting employers with bold tactics and detailed strategy. It is also an opportunity to elect a woman as leader of Unite for the first time. These are powerful reasons to back Sharon Graham. Shop stewards and the workplace Central to Graham’s pitch is the criticism that Unite has drifted too far from its core purpose as a...

Bus workers to strike 25-26 May

The Unite union has announced new strikes by bus drivers on the Metroline services in London in an ongoing dispute about the bosses’ plan to introduce “remote sign-on”. Drivers will be out on 25-26 May, and 7-8-9 June.

Gains at Go North West

A nine-week long strike by bus drivers has forced Go North West to back down from a plan to impose new contracts via “fire and rehire”. Drivers who were sacked or disciplined for social media posts during the dispute will also be reinstated and have disciplinary sanctions dropped. Although the details of the settlement are yet to be finalised, this appears to be a significant victory and a testament to the resolve of the workers involved in launching determined, indefinite strike action. For now, drivers are rightly continuing their strikes until a settlement is agreed. Activists say that Go...

Why is the Morning Star so quiet about the Unite election?

The race is on to replace Len McCluskey as general secretary of the Unite union. This is the second most powerful position within the British labour movement, after leader of the Labour Party, and the outcome will have massive repercussions not just for the Unite, but for the movement as a whole and the Labour Party. The four declared candidates, Steve Turner, Howard Beckett, Sharon Graham and Gerard Coyne, will be seeking sufficient branch nominations between now and 7 June. The election runs from 5 July to 23 August. You would expect the Morning Star — a publication largely aimed at, and...

Unite election: no good options

For debate and discussion about the election, see here. Members of Unite, one of Britain’s largest trade unions, will elect a new general secretary. Len McCluskey, who has been in office since 2010, has announced his retirement. The branch nomination period will run from 6 May to 7 June, with members voting by postal ballot from 5 July to 23 August, and the result announced on 26 August. There are four declared candidates so far — Howard Beckett, Steve Turner, Sharon Graham, and Gerard Coyne. All four are current or former unelected officials of the union. Constitutional arrangements which...

Reject the 4% sop!

Nurses United, an activist group within the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), is campaigning for rejection of the 4% pay offer made to NHS workers in Scotland. Like the NHS Workers Say No group, it is campaigning for a 15% rise. The GMB union is balloting in Scotland between 12 April and 5 May, Unison between 15 April and 7 May, and the RCN between 16 April and 6 May. Unison has called on members to accept the 4%, GMB and RCN to reject. The Royal College of Midwives and Unite are putting the deal to their members with no recommendation. NHS workers have suffered real-terms pay cuts of up to 20%...

Bus drivers resist fire and rehire

Bus drivers working for Go North West in Manchester are continuing their indefinite strike against “fire and rehire”, which has been ongoing since mid-February. The company wants to change workers terms and conditions, including increasing hours and reducing sick pay entitlement, and plans to dismiss the workforce en masse before re-engaging them on the inferior terms. The strike has now been supported by Manchester's Labour council. The council passed a motion supporting the workers, and exploring cutting council ties with companies who use “fire and rehire” tactics. Andy Burnham, the mayor...

Charity workers plan indefinite strike

Maintenance workers employed by the housing charity St. Mungo's will begin an indefinite strike from 22 April. Although just 12 workers are involved in the dispute, indefinite action is a bold step. The workers are employed in a property services department which provides repairs for the charity's 3,200 housing units. The Unite union says a culture of management bullying is endemic at St. Mungo's. It has also indicted St. Mungo's bosses for their anti-union attitude. A Unite statement said: “Unite’s concerns at the bullying and anti-union culture among St Mungo’s management have only grown...

Battles in three bus companies

Bus drivers at Manchester’s Go North West firm are continuing an indefinite strike against worsening conditions imposed via “fire and rehire”. The strike entered its sixth week on 4 April. The drivers’ union, Unite, says the new contracts represent an additional 130 hours of work, equivalent to a pay cut of £2,500. At talks at conciliation service Acas, Unite submitted a counterproposal detailing how the company could save £1.3 million to avoid the contractual changes. Go North West has refused, and has told Unite that, unless workers accept new contracts, it may close down the Queens Road...

Heathrow pushed back

Unite called off a series of 41 strikes planned by workers at Heathrow Airport, after Heathrow Airport Ltd (HAL), the central employer at the airport, made a new offer on pay and conditions. Unite says the offer “includes the potential for pay increases over the next two years (depending on airport traffic and inflation), the insourcing of work... and a commitment to review working hours of some sectors to improve work/life balance.” The strikes, planned to take place across a 24-day period, were due to begin on 2 April. Instead, Unite will ballot members on HAL’s new offer, with the union...

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