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New Unite leader vows to fight for better jobs, pay and conditions

·2-min read

The newly-elected leader of the giant Unite union has told her members she will be campaigning for better pay, jobs and conditions rather than “battening down the hatches”.

In a letter to local Unite officials, Sharon Graham said members face a “critical time”, with tactics such as so-called “fire and rehire” becoming increasingly common.

She said: “I have been elected to do what it says on the trade union tin – fight for jobs, pay and conditions. This is what I will be doing. There will be no more parlour games in Parliament, we are not a branch of the Labour Party.

“Now is the time to build strong, effective trade unionism. The task of delivering on my commitments will begin immediately.”

A telephone hotline to her office for Unite members is being set up and will be live within a few days, and she is bringing together local union officials involved in disputes so she can personally ensure they have support.

Ms Graham said her priorities include setting up a dispute support team and developing the “leverage” system of campaigning she has built up during recent conflicts.

She added: “I will also undertake a comprehensive review of all Unite operations and make sure that our structures are fit for a workplace organisation.

“Finally, now is not the time to batten down the hatches. Together, we will make Unite a fighting back union where bad employers are made accountable for their actions.

“Workers cannot pay for the Covid crisis. Together, we will ensure this does not happen.”

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