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.

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.

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