‘Relentless in organising’

New GS Sharon Graham shows how workers can win as Unite Policy Conference opens

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As Unite’s sixth policy conference opens today (October 18) in Liverpool, UNITElive can report a number of inflation-busting pay victories for Unite members – which shows the union is heading in a new worker-led direction under general secretary Sharon Graham.

Since Sharon Graham was elected to office in August, 10 pay disputes involving around 2,600 workers in the manufacturing, refuse, logistics, passenger transport and defence sectors have been settled.

‘Focus firmly on the workplace’

“Unite’s focus is now firmly on the workplace and the fight for jobs, pay and conditions,” GS Graham said.

She continued, “Unite is a worker-led union driven entirely by the interests of our members and we will be relentless in organising to make sure that workers do not pay the price for the pandemic.”

The highest pay increase for Unite members was for more than 90 HGV drivers employed by Wincanton on the North West England Argos contract, who received a 31 per cent pay rise.

Other lorry drivers have seen inflation-busing pay increases, including 200 Sainsbury’s DHL drivers (6.2 per cent) and 1,000 GXO drayman (4 per cent).

Workers in other sectors have also won significant pay rises as well. These include 150 Bexley refuse workers secured a pay increase of 11 per cent, 100 Kaefer naval base workers 5.5 per cent and 250 Lancashire bus drivers 4.4 per cent.

“These wage rises in companies the length and breadth of the economy show quite simply that where workers are organised in the union and fight for decent wages and conditions they can win. And that is exactly what we intend to keep doing,” she added.

By Ryan Fletcher, Pics by Mark Thomas, Jennie Walsh  

Stay tuned to UNITElive for the latest from Unite Policy Conference 

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