“The cost of living is increasing very rapidly, and our wages are not keeping up!” Interview with a striking council worker
Unite General Secretary election: Defend a democratic campaigning union against the right – vote Sharon Graham
We are at a crossroads because the outcome of this election will have a profound effect on the union and its ability to organise. A victory for right-wing candidate Gerard Coyne, which is possible given how close he came in the last election and the huge support he is getting from the right-wing of the Labour Party and the establishment, would represent a massive defeat for the union. Coyne is determined to smash the left within the union, taking to The Sun during the last general secretary election to attack Len McCluskey over his support for Jeremy Corbyn.
In May, Hovis workers in Belfast won an 8% pay increase over two years through a determined, all-out strike that lasted for 11 days. The actions of this workforce are an inspiration to others in the sector and beyond, as employers across the private and public sectors are trying to use the economic crisis sparked by Covid to attack wages, terms and conditions, or as an excuse for miserly pay-offers.
This year’s Unite General Secretary election comes at a pivotal moment for the union and the working class as whole. The vital question members are dealing with is how does the union face up to the challenges posed by Covid-19 and the resultant economic and social crisis?
Over 1,800 students at Queen’s University have signed an open letter calling for a Student Safety Net in the midst of the Covid crisis. This follows the launching of a “Students Deserve Better” campaign by the Students’ Union (QUBSU) as part of a broader initiative across the UK.
Months into the Covid crisis, the reality of where the hospitality industry stands is becoming clear. A recent report commissioned by hospitality trade bodies warns that one in four businesses may never open again, potentially putting 16,000 workers out of a job across the North.
On 5th March, Flybe - Europe’s largest regional airline - collapsed, with 2,400 workers suddenly losing their jobs. Workers and passengers were given virtually no warning. Flybe sent texts out at 2am, telling anyone booked on one of their flights not to travel to the airport. No alternative flights were arranged and many workers and passengers were left stranded, unable to get refunds.