Unite

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.

Barnoldswick votes for strikes

Following two weeks of strikes by a group of 17 specialist engineers at the Rolls Royce plant in Barnoldswick, Lancashire, the rest of the workforce has now voted for strikes, in a ballot which closed on 13 August. Their union, Unite, has delayed calling action. Union officers say “tangible progress” is being made in talks, and that workers are hopeful the dispute can be resolved without the need for further strikes. The latest phase of the dispute began when Rolls Royce bosses reneged on commitments, won by workers via sustained strikes in 2020, including maintaining staffing levels at the...

More organising, more democracy, more politics: how to push in Unite

On 25 August Sharon Graham won the Unite general secretary election, becoming the first woman to lead the union. Graham got 46,696 votes, with Steve Turner — the favoured successor of outgoing general secretary Len McCluskey — gaining 41,833. Many feared that two left candidates in a First Past the Post election would allow right winger Gerard Coyne to win; in the event, Coyne came third with 35,334. The turnout was around 10% of Unite’s 1.2 million-strong membership. It was 12% in 2017, 15% in 2013, and 16% in 2010. Workers’ Liberty supporters in Unite called for a critical vote for Sharon...

Unite: Sharon Graham's win

Sharon Graham has won the Unite general secretary election, becoming the first woman to lead the union. Graham won 46,696, with Steve Turner - the favoured successor of outgoing general secretary Len McCluskey - gaining 41,833.

Unite: transforming our union

The Unite General Secretary election gave us a chance to talk about what our union, and wider movement, should look like.

Barnoldswick strike vote closes 13 August

The Unite union is balloting its members at the Rolls Royce plant in Barnoldswick for strikes, with the vote due to close on 13 August. A group of 17 engineers at the plant have already launched a new strike from 9 August, following a planned shutdown of the plant. Prior to the shutdown, the engineers had struck for two weeks, concluding on 23 July. The first day of the new round of strikes was marked with a protest at the plant. Workers at the plant previously struck in 2020 against Rolls Royce’s plans to offshore work, thereby cutting jobs. The strikes ended with a settlement including a...

Strikes against Rolls-Royce reneging

In 2020, strikes by workers at the Rolls-Royce plant in Barnoldswick, Lancashire, forced the company to abandon a plan to offshore work and cut jobs at the site. Strikes have now resumed after the employer reneged on commitments. Ross Quinn, a regional officer for Unite, spoke to Solidarity. At the end of April, it was reported that a senior manager announced the training school, which was part of the settlement that ended the strike, guaranteeing future jobs at the site, would be demolished after two years. It was also reported that the company would essentially be reverting to the original...

Sharon Graham, Unite and “workers’ politics”

After this article was written, Workers' Liberty members and supporters in Unite the Union decided to back Sharon Graham for Unite General Secretary: see our statement here. Naturally we also continued to argue for the kind of criticisms and ideas outlined below! For more debate and discussion on the election, see here. For our wider ideas on transforming Unite, see here Unite General Secretary candidate Sharon Graham’s proposals for “a Workers’ Politics” point in the wrong direction. In many respects they are a regression from Unite’s current political strategy. The wider output from Graham’s...

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.