Socialist Party member Suzanne Muna who has been re-elected to the Unite executive. Photo: Bristol Socialist party
Socialist Party member Suzanne Muna who has been re-elected to the Unite executive. Photo: Bristol Socialist party

Suzanne Muna, Unite South West Executive Council member

The first meeting of the newly elected Executive Council (EC) of Unite the Union highlighted two things: both the opportunities to pursue and strengthen the fighting programme of the leadership of the union, and the determination of forces in the union that are opposed to Sharon Graham’s leadership to undermine it.

Supporters of Sharon’s ‘Plan for Change’ and supporters of the misnamed ‘Members First’ (the United Left – UL) are finely balanced on the new executive. This marks a significant decline for the UL, which once held a large majority. The UL is seeking to reverse the militant steps forward that have taken place since Sharon became general secretary in 2021.


One of the main political discussions was on renationalisation of energy and steel (‘Take the Power Back’) both of which are key demands being developed by the ‘Unite for a Workers’ Economy’ project.

Socialist Party members see nationalisation of infrastructure and industries as important steps forward, but oppose paying billions of pounds to big shareholders who have already made massive financial gains from essential services and manufacturing (see ‘Unite general secretary demands: Nationalise energy’).

At the EC, the Unite leadership was asked to consider shareholder compensation only on the basis of proven need.

The Unite leadership is open about the challenges of getting Labour Party agreement to a programme of nationalisation for key sectors and industries as part of the manifesto that it will take to the electorate next year. This is despite growing popularity for nationalisation amongst the general public.

The union has already agreed a policy that Labour Party candidates for council seats seeking Unite’s support would be required to sign a commitment to key Unite policies before receiving backing.  This will now be extended to parliamentary candidates. This will include nationalisation.

Constitutional Battleground

As previously reported in the Socialist, the Members First group forced through elections of the chair and membership of committees, including the important Finance and General Purposes committee, despite the fact that elections for some EC seats are still ongoing.

EC members who support Sharon Graham’s manifesto issued a statement for the minutes opposing this manoeuvre (see ‘Unite Executive Council – a warning to the left’).

The UL quickly regretted their decision. One person immediately quit the UL and joined the Sharon Graham group. The new chair backtracked and offered to share seats equally. But Sharon Graham supporters decided to wait until all sectors are represented on the executive before populating constitutional committees.

  • Assuming a contested election, voting for three Civil Air Transport executive council seats will open on 17 July and close on 4 August. It is critical that every Unite member in this sector votes, and the Socialist Party advocates for candidates who support Sharon Graham’s manifesto.