I was recently privileged to be elected by you, our members, to be Unite General Secretary on a clear mandate for positive change.
Unite members face a critical time. Many employers are emboldened. Tactics such as ‘Fire and Rehire’ are becoming increasingly common, jobs are under threat, inflation is rising and pay is being suppressed.
I have been elected to do what it says on the trade union tin – fight for jobs, pay and conditions. That is exactly what I will be doing.
It will be the workplace over Westminster. Now is the time to build strong, effective trade unions.
The task of delivering on my commitments will begin immediately. I have clearly set out my reform agenda within the six sections of my Manifesto which I have laid out here:
One of the biggest tasks facing me is to improve our service to the membership.
On Monday, I am launching my new General Secretary’s Member Hotline. Members will be able to contact my office at any time between 8am-8pm (Monday to Thursday) and 8am-6pm (Friday), through this Freephone number: 08085015098
I have also made other clear promises to deliver transparency, improve our service and hopefully make life a bit easier for all members, including:
· Making proposals to freeze the cost of Union membership for at least 12 months.
· Starting a review of member subscription rates.
· Beginning a comprehensive review of our legal and marketing services.
· Developing a new Unite Member Guarantee, which will set practical standards for the service that Unite members can expect.
· Driving our focus onto the industrial, bargaining agenda.
· Making sure that equality issues will be on the bargaining table.
· Putting my expenses online.
· Ensuring we have the resources to deliver with more support for Reps and Bargaining, including forensic accounting and the hiring of a new Finance Director.
As I have said throughout my campaign, the absolute priority for me will be supporting our members in the workplace and wider community.
This is particularly so for those facing attacks to their jobs, pay and conditions by bad bosses. Within 7 days of being elected General Secretary I brought together all of our Shop Stewards and Reps who are currently in dispute so that I could personally ensure that they had every support from their Union. I will not apologise for defending workers and will use all avenues to do this.
Over the forthcoming period I will begin the task of building a Union ready for the challenges that lie ahead for the future and undertake a comprehensive review of all Unite operations to make sure that our structures are member focused.
Finally, now is not the time to batten down the hatches. Workers cannot be made to pay for the Covid crisis. Together, we will do everything we can to ensure this does not happen.