Unite Unity Left – Launch event 17th December 2020

Unite Unity Left is a new initiative that gives us the potential to grow and develop an exciting and meaningful vision for our union as we go forward

Jennie Formby opened up the launch explaining why Unite Unity Left is needed, Jennie said:

“The UUL has been established to bring together a committed, welcoming and passionate lay activist group in Unite who want to win industrially and politically in the workplace, in the union more widely and also within the political system of all our nations.

We are dedicated to winning workplace power and organising collectively to win for members, and that’s why your involvement and contribution is so important.”

Speakers at the launch included:

Howard Beckett Unite Assistant General Secretary,

Susanne Napier. Susanne is a Senior Steward at Turning Point Scotland, and one of the leading reps in our National Care Sector campaign in Scotland 

Jimmy Kelly; previously convenor at Waterford Crystal who led a huge and really important pensions strike. He went on to be Chair of Unite’s national executive and ultimately Regional Secretary for Ireland region 

Farheen Ahmed, Unite young member and organiser from the West Midlands representing members on zero hours contracts and in the precarious retail sector and working directly with migrants and others facing serious difficulties

Steve Surtees (AKA Spud) convenor of TATA steel in Port Talbot 

Dean Smith Unite Convenor at Birmingham City Council who led members through a tough strike fighting back against attacks on terms and conditions by the council 

There was then a wide ranging discussion with many contributions talking about how our union needs to move forward and how we give our members greater confidence to fight back and win against exploitative employers, as well as playing a key part in setting the political agenda.

Howard Beckett Unite AGS highlighted the many difficulties our members are facing and the challenges of this pandemic. Not just the difficulties in sectors, the difficulties individuals have faced as a direct result of this government’s appalling decision making and lack of support for workers – whilst they prioritise dishing out lucrative Covid contracts worth billions to their mates. Ignoring the plight of the poorest and most precarious workers in our society. 

Our union faces many challenges going forward whatever the new post pandemic normal looks like – on top of the challenges of a post-Brexit Britain to deal with. 

We know that whatever happens the Tories will try to make us pay for their crisis so we must grow and develop and organise better than ever before to ensure our members are.

Howard Beckett closed the meeting thanking everyone for their contribution and saying:

“Unity United Left will have a crucial role in organising the future of Unite to ensure members are defended against the coming onslaught and I look forward to continuing to fighting alongside you to ensure our union is bigger and better than ever and able to defend our members.