Message from Sharon Graham – Unite General Secretary


No increase to the cost of Unite membership again in 2023


It has now been just over a year since you elected me to be General Secretary of Unite.

I wrote to you then with a promise to do things differently.

To take our Union back to the workplace and to focus on the jobs, pay and conditions of Unite members

To do what it says on the trade union tin. I have been true to my word.

We conclude thousands of pay deals every year with employers, through our reps and our officers. But where we have been forced into dispute, Unite has stood full-square with our members.

Over the course of the “cost of living” crisis, more than £200 million has been won for members as a result of successful industrial action.

Real money back in the pockets of workers. That will remain our focus.

With new support being offered to the frontline, we have won over 80% of the 450 disputes fought to date.

I discussed this during my TV interview with Sophy Ridge a couple of weeks ago –

And today, I write to you with what I hope will be some welcome news.

We have again made the decision to not increase the cost of Unite membership. 

In addition, we have also increased the earnings threshold to £21,500 gross, for the lower subscription rate.

Prices continue to go up and workers are feeling the pinch, so I hope that the decision to freeze membership increases, this year and next, will help in some small way.

In the last year, I have received an incredible amount of support from our activists and members.

It’s that support that makes me determined to deliver the Manifesto I stood on

There is much still to do, but we are starting to turn our promise of change into reality:

  • Focus on Jobs, Pay and Conditions.
  • New General Secretary’s Member Hotline.
  • Upgraded legal support for Unite Shop Stewards and Reps facing victimisation.
  • First Combines introduced to bring together our activists by industry and help co-ordinate bargaining and action.
  • Forensic Accountants providing specialist support to negotiators.

Our members should also expect the highest standards of honesty and transparency.

That is why I called for and delivered:

  • An Independent, KC led, inquiryinto the costs of the Birmingham Hotel.
  • full review of our membership services undertaken by legal specialists.
  • An independent, KC led, inquiry into possible collusion with Blacklisting.

Whatever the result of the reviews and inquiries, members can be assured that I will do whatever is necessary.

My focus will always be on the workplace, but we all understand that politics matter. Laws matter. It’s how we live our lives.

Therefore, we will be making our voice heard in the political arena.

This does not mean that we will trade our industrial power for political promises. 

We will be doing things for the long term.

Working in local communities to influence politics, from the ground up, through a new campaign, called “Unite for a workers economy”.

I want our whole Union to come together and I will back this with resource. Industrial, Community and Retired members campaigning as one, on issues that affect us all.

Finally, I want to say thank-you to you, our members, for your continued support and trust.

I promise you that whatever challenges lie ahead, I will continue to put the jobs, pay and conditions of our members first.

In solidarity,

Sharon Graham,
Unite General Secretary