Kevin Parslow, Unite Waltham Forest council branch secretary
A meeting called to form a new, democratic, and fighting left organisation in Unite the Union took place on 17 September, with over 80 joining on Zoom. The new organisation is based upon those who supported the fighting industrial and social programme of Sharon Graham in her general secretary election campaign, but will fight for that militant policy to continue against attacks from outside and within the union.
Unite has seen over 900 strikes since Sharon became general secretary. But this new organisation is necessary because Sharon’s policies have opponents in Unite, including the leadership of the so-called ‘United Left’. The Executive Council has already become the scene for some of these battles, so this new organisation is vital to maintain Unite’s forward progress.
Socialist Party members played a big role in organising and participating in this meeting, which followed a successful meeting at Unite conference this summer.
This meeting was called at an important time, with the possibility of a Labour government only months away, and the pressures that will come on trade union leaders to back it by trimming the demands of their members.
The aims of the new organisation, which has several Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI – the international socialist organisation to which the Socialist Party is affiliated) members on its steering committee, include:
- Supporting workers in struggle and bringing our struggles together
- Supporting the organising model and collective bargaining approaches to trade unionism. Continuing to build a fighting, industrial programme
- Fighting the anti-union laws
- Fighting to reverse the privatisation of public services and ensure all are fully funded
- Supporting nationalisation of key industries, including utilities and pharmaceuticals
- Being prepared to take on any employer, including Labour councils when necessary
This new organisation will coordinate to campaign that supporters of the fighting strategy are elected to all Unite bodies and delegations in the future.