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Exclusive Sharon Graham: Unite is heading in a ‘worker-led direction’

by Matt Trinder

SEVERAL inflation-busting pay victories for Unite members show that the union is heading in a “worker-led direction,” general secretary Sharon Graham told the Morning Star today.

Since Ms Graham was elected to office in August, 10 pay disputes involving around 2,600 workers in the manufacturing, refuse, logistics, passenger transport and defence sectors have been settled.

The highest pay increase secured so far has been for more than 90 HGV drivers employed by Wincanton on the north-west England Argos contract, who received a 31 per cent wage boost. 

Other lorry drivers to see better than inflation pay rises includes 200 Sainsbury’s DHL workers, who got 6.2 per cent, and 1,000 GXO draymen, who received a 4 per cent rise.

Elsewhere, 150 Bexley refuse staff secured an 11 per cent wage rise, 100 Kaefer naval base workers won 5.5 per cent and 250 Lancashire bus drivers got a 4.4 per cent increase.

Speaking exclusively to the Star, Ms Graham said: “Unite’s focus is now firmly on the workplace and the fight for jobs, pay and conditions.

“Unite is a worker-led union driven entirely by the interests of our members and we will be relentless in organising to make sure that workers do not pay the price for the pandemic.

“These wage rises in companies the length and breadth of the economy show quite simply that where workers are organised in the union and fight for decent wages and conditions they can win. That is what we intend to keep doing.”

Unite’s policy conference gets under way in Liverpool tomorrow.

The sixth annual event, running until Friday, will see about 700 lay members consider motions on topics including the economy, worker’s rights, social action and the green industrial revolution. 


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