'Let's focus on the fight ahead'

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham in special International Women's Day message

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On International Women’s Day, Unite Equalities is gearing up for a special IWD online event tomorrow (March 9) that is open to all – you can find out more about how you can attend here.

Below is a special IWD message from Unite general secretary Sharon Graham ahead of tomorrow’s event.

Whether it is pushing equality at the negotiating table by securing agreements on menopause and domestic violence or taking strike action to win better pay and terms & conditions for your members, I know that the experiences you will hear about at Unite Equalities’ online event tomorrow (March 9) will provide inspiration and demonstrate that by using our collective strength to push for change we can win for workers.

Our women reps speaking are at the forefront of our industrial agenda and as a general secretary who led her first dispute on the issue of equal pay, they have my 100% support. Our priorities on closing that gender pay and pension gap, strong maternity and pregnancy protection, calling for flexible working as a default in all jobs, stopping precarious and insecure work and the end of violence and harassment against women are all collective bargaining issues that our union is campaigning on.

Strong, effective trade unionism can deliver when legislation lags behind and doesn’t appreciate the pressures facing many workers, especially women in a cost of living crisis.

I am proud to say that Unite is already leading the way and through the support of our whole union, we have put £430m back into the pockets of our members, delivering vast improvements in their workplaces. Through our work in Unite Investigates we have helped to switch the narrative that somehow workers were responsible for soaring inflation or that employers couldn’t afford to give the pay rise that our members deserved.

Unite reps now have information at their fingertips through our extensive Facts and Figures briefing and can access forensic company accounts; all designed to shift the balance in those negotiations, empowering and making sure they get their fair slice of the pie.

So whilst we rightly commemorate IWD and the struggles and resistance that women have lead across the world, let us focus on the fight ahead. Workers need to belong to strong trade unions that are dedicated to protecting and advancing terms & conditions, pushing for good quality jobs and a workplace and society free of discrimination.

I am with you for this fight, you have my full support. See you on the picket line!


Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary