Sharon Graham has introduced radical changes to the way the union operates to focus its entire resources on winning for workers.

The strategy is already bearing fruit. In Sharon Graham’s first 100 days in office Unite has won pay increases worth over £25 million in new pay deals. That amounts to a quarter of a million pound of wins every day she has been in office. (A list of key wins is included here). 

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: Unite is now dedicated to doing what it says on the trade union tin - fighting for jobs pay and conditions. Unite reps and officers across the UK and Ireland are making that a reality.

 “The pay deals won for Unite workers in my first 100 days are a cast-iron confirmation of that. We are winning better deals for Unite members and we intend to continue to do just that for the next 100 days and beyond.”

The clear commitment for Unite to defend the jobs, pay and conditions of its members has resulted in the union being involved in a record number of industrial disputes, over recent months. In Sharon Grahams first 100 days over 40 industrial disputes have been resolved (See Media Briefing in Notes below).

A dedicated disputes unit has been established to assist members, to ensure that they have all the information and support that they need to ensure that Unite always secures the best possible outcome in its disputes. This unit will triple in size in the coming months.

Sharon Graham said “From the first day of my election I said I was going to focus Unite on getting back to the workplace, that the days of the political dog wagging the union’s industrial tail were over.

“I have set up a special disputes unit within the current union structures to make sure every step is taken to win disputes for our workers. This is a new, powerful response to what needs to be done to lead the union fightback across the UK and Ireland”.

 Unite recognises that there are great challenges facing the trade unions. It is no co-incidence that the falling share of wealth going to workers across the UK and Ireland has been matched by the decline of collective bargaining and the drop in membership of unions. The number of workers organised by unions has dropped by half since the turn of the century. However Unite’s leader believes today’s circumstances present an opportunity to make sure workers do not pay the price of the pandemic.

Sharon Graham said: “I believe this is a moment of opportunity for the trade union movement. We must grasp it. Building a powerful union capable of winning disputes and workplace battles is the best protection that I can offer my members through the pandemic and as the country deals with its aftermath.

 "The union grows by winning. It is our aim to keep winning so that ‘fire and rehire’ strategies will be confounded and workers don’t pay the price of the pandemic”.


Notes to editors:

Media briefing

Sharon Graham - 100 days of winning millions for workers;

100 days of winning for bus drivers;

100 days of winning for lorry drivers;

100 days of winning for workers.

(Note Sharon was elected on 27 August 2021 so 6 December marks her first 100 days.)

 “In her first 100 days new union general secretary wins private sector pay deals for Unite members worth £25 million”.

  • The value of Unite’s top (43) pay deals exceeds £25 million pounds, equivalent to £250,000 or a quarter of a million a day
  • The deals cover around 12,000 workers
  • 16 deals worth on average £1,600 extra negotiated for bus drivers.
  • 14 deals worth on average £6,000 extra negotiated for workers in the road transport, warehouse & logistics sector.

Workers in dispute: 32 out of the 43 pay deals were won through disputes (74 per cent) where votes for strike action or strikes forced employers to offer improved deals;

Disputes in Passenger Transport:

  • At Stagecoach the employer had imposed a pay freeze, but in the 13 pay deals concluded, pay rises were won with an average value of an extra £1,600
  • Rises ranged from 4.3% at Stagecoach North West (worth an extra £1,040) to 7.5% in East Scotland (worth an extra £1,800).

Disputes in Road Transport Commercial Warehouse & Logistics:

  • In the road transport, commercial, warehouse and logistics sector, seven pay rises were won through disputes, averaging an extra £5,600.
  • Petrol tanker drivers in the South East won 11 per cent (£3,500).
  • DHL workers in Scotland won a 10 per cent rise (£15 p/h, £9,000).
  • In the North East 24 per cent (£6,032) was won by Wincanton Morrisons drivers at Stockton achieving parity of £15 p/hour.

Lowest paid are winning the largest rises to achieve pay parity and set benchmarks.

  • On the buses, Stagecoach workers’ hourly pay rise rose from just over £10 an hour to over £12 at Teesside (value £2,800). They achieved parity with the pay leader in the region
  • In manufacturing a 13.5 per cent increase for workers at Glen Dimplex (Northern Ireland) increased rates from £9.07 p/hour to £10.35 p/hour
  • In Ireland DHL workers went from the lowest pay of £9.24p/h to £10.70 (worth £3,400)
  • In London, the Bexley (Serco) bin workers won 11 per cent (worth £8,000), going from the lowest to some of the highest paid bin workers in the region.

Workers are winning back money lost during Covid (including pay freezes).

  • Stagecoach workers faced a national pay freeze in 2020; in 2021, over 3,300 workers won pay rises above inflation to claw back money lost.
  • In Wales Petrofac workers won 15 per cent (worth £5,000), including the 10 per cent previously lost through a pay freeze;

 List of Unite wins

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

Email: [email protected]

  • Unite is the UK and Irelands leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.