Unite press release

Embargoed until 00.01 Wednesday 1 March 2023

Unite leader, Sharon Graham, calls East Midlands summit to plan next phase of the jobs, pay and conditions battle

This morning (Wednesday 1 March) 200 leading Unite activists will gather in Leicester 

Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham, will tell leading Unite reps from across the East Midlands that Unite is now completely focused on the fight for jobs, pay and conditions.

The days of the union waiting on Westminster for the salvation of workers’ problems are over. Almost 200 union activists from across the East Midlands will attend the summit in Leicester, including activists from Rolls Royce, Toyota, Nottingham City Council, Siemens, Stagecoach, DHL and E.on UK Plc.

Today Sharon Graham will say “Unite is 100 per cent behind workers across the East Midlands in their battle for fair pay. We won’t let the cost of living crisis take its toll on workers when bosses can afford to pay more.

“As we have proved where workers unite and take action we can fight and win - like in the East Midlands, in the last year. Where our members take industrial action I’ll back them all the way. The government might make all sorts of threats trying to bully the unions but we’re not going away. In fact the trade union movement is being reborn. Mark my words”.

In the early part of her period as General Secretary in the East Midlands workers at Bakkavor Foods and Nottingham City buses won inflation busting deals; as did Wincanton warehouse workers and members at DHL. More recently Airport workers at East Midlands airport got a 10% hike after industrial action and Leicester bus workers went on strike and won an historic 13% deal for better pay.

Since Sharon Graham was elected General Secretary in August of 2021, she’s led more than 600 disputes for better pay, and won eight out of ten of them. Union research estimates this has put more than £300 million of new money into Unite members’ pockets.

 Aiden Papworth, Unite convenor at Rolls Royce said: “Sharon is a breath of fresh air and a force of nature.  All of a sudden, we have a union fighting for wages and winning, and it’s not only Unite members who are right behind Sharon – unions have become a voice for everyone.  

“People can feel the cost of living crisis and they can see the grotesque profits coming from big energy. The government can let it rip for the City bankers but can’t pay the nurses; whom they clapped during the pandemic, a decent rise. Sharon tells it how it is and holds power to account.”


Notes to editors: 

Almost 200 union activists from across the East Midlands will attend the summit, at the Novotel Hotel in Leicester.

Unite the union is the UK’s most powerful union, has more than a million members and spans more than 40 sectors of the British economy including ports, transport, vehicle manufacturing and aviation.

In her election rallies Sharon Graham told the many at her hustings that for too long the union had gazed at the towers of Westminster hoping politicians would solve members’ problems. She argued in those days that “the political tail of our union has waged the industrial dog for too long”.

Contact: Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315  

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Instagram: unitetheunion

Web: unitetheunion.org

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.