Unite winning in the workplace, defending workers’ rights and delivering a just transition on green jobs

 In her keynote address to Unite’s policy conference in Brighton today (Wednesday 12 July) Sharon Graham said:

Winning for Workers

“This union, our union can be the driver of change. The real power comes from the workplace. Collective bargaining is still the tried and tested method of pushing up pay.

 “The last 20 months have shown that action at the workplace has delivered for our members. Since then, we have had over 890 disputes, covering over 170,000 Unite members, over 80 per cent already won. £400 million into the pockets of our members.

 “It was Unite reps that led the way. It was our members who took the first stand.”

Defending workers’ rights

Turning to the government’s plans to limit the right to strike, Sharon Graham gave a clear warning, saying: We will be attacked by those with much to lose. It won’t stop us. Whatever hurdles they put in our way we will jump them. If they tax our strike pay we will add the tax on. If they try and force people to break our strikes we will use strikes plus. If they fiddle with thresholds and notice periods we will change our tactics.

“We didn’t change our rule book to work outside the law if necessary, to make it neater. We changed it for the days to come. Unite will defend its members by all and every means.”

A Just Transition

Turning to the urgent need for all political parties to ensure a just transition as the economy moves to net zero, she said: We will not let any group of workers become the coal miners of this generation.

“Yes, we need to drive down emissions. But there needs to be a plan with workers at the heart. Jobs need to be real. I don’t like loose talk particularly when it concerns 30,000 oil and gas workers.

“I don’t trust vague commitments made by politicians seeking power. Is a low paid job driving an electric bike delivering pizza for Deliveroo a green job? It is certainly not a replacement for union jobs on an oil rig or in a steel mill.

“So I want to put our politicians on notice. In order for our support for a green transition, we need a plan for jobs. We need collective agreement. Because a just transition, means a negotiated transition. Not an imposed position.”


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 Ireland’s 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.