MANY Sun readers have probably given up on the Unite union in recent years.
Little wonder when it has spent so much time messing about in the hard-left politics in recent years that you simply don’t care for.
I am standing to be Unite’s General Secretary to change that and to focus instead on the jobs, pay and conditions of our members.
In Unite’s last election, only one in eight of the members voted, so the minority dominated. This time, I want the other 88 per cent to have their say about who runs their union.
I believe that trade unions are more important now than they have ever been in my lifetime. Let me tell you why.
More delivery drivers, fewer office workers. Much more technology. All around us the world of work is changing very, very fast.
POWER TO CHANGE
The danger is that people will end up working harder than ever, for not enough pay and with fewer benefits, in jobs that can be gone in the blink of an eye.
It’s at times like this we most need trade unions. Defending jobs. Arguing for good pay and decent conditions. Standing up to the bad employers and working with the good ones.
Most importantly we must be on your side if something goes wrong. I want every Sun reader to see the value of union membership.
So it angers me when I see people who hold top union jobs waste time and money on things that don’t help their members.
My union, Unite, has spent years trying to run the Labour Party under former leader Jeremy Corbyn. But I do not want to be Labour’s back seat driver.
If I am elected as the next leader of Unite, I’ll focus on the day job. Unite has spent nearly £100million on a luxury hotel in Birmingham.
Len McCluskey is on his way out and has backed Steve Turner to replace him. Now Turner has promised to launch a new Unite television channel, at who knows what cost.
This is daft. A trade union should do what it says on the tin, and it shouldn’t waste eye- watering sums of its members’ hard-earned money.
There will be no Unite TV station if I am elected General Secretary, and no more hotels either.
I want to protect Unite members in tough times. I want them to be better paid and better treated. I want Unite to grow, after years of losing members.
My two rivals in this election are Turner, backed by the Communist Party, and Sharon Graham, backed by The Socialist Party.
NARROW-MINDED WAY OF THINKING
They were at the top of Unite through all the waste and decline and they never spoke up. I was the one who stood up and challenged McCluskey for the leadership in 2017 — and very nearly won.
I am the only one who will really change Unite. Managers or ministers, I’ll meet with anyone if it’s in our members’ interests.
I have never voted Conservative, but I’ll meet Tory ministers if that is what is best for Unite members.
Turner has told his supporters: “I will never give an interview to, or seek the support of, or allow on to any Unite premises anyone associated with The Sun.”
Has nobody told him that tens of thousands of Unite members buy and read The Sun every day? You deserve to be represented and protected too.
This narrow-minded way of thinking is exactly why so many Unite members voted Conservative at the last general election, in constituencies that were for nearly 100 years rock- solid Labour.
I want my union and the Labour Party to reconnect with hard-working people in the Red Wall seats, so that when we build back after Covid, the wealth is shared fairly.
I want our sons and daughters to have good jobs and homes of their own. I want the trade union movement to help achieve these mainstream ambitions.
If you are a Unite member, you will get a ballot paper through the post right about now. The power to change Unite is in your hands. Your vote matters.
Vote for me, and together we can change Unite the Union for the better. Then we might be able to convince more Sun readers to join up, so we can protect their jobs, pay and working conditions too. It’s that important.
Rival candidates’ ‘secret deal’
By Kate Ferguson, Deputy Political Editor
THE hard-left is trying to “stitch up” the race to be Britain’s most powerful union leader, one of the election candidates has warned.
Unite is in the grip of a ferocious battle to replace “Red Len” McCluskey at the helm of the powerful organisation.
The Sun has been told that Mr Turner apparently did a deal with his former left-wing rival Howard Beckett – who bowed out the race last month – to help clear his run for the top job.
Mr Turner is said to have agreed to give Mr Beckett his own union-funded telly channel – Unite TV – as part of the top- secret deal.
Speaking to The Sun, Mr Coyne said: “The hard-left is trying to stitch up this race.
“What are the contents of the secret deal? It seems Turner is asking Unite members to sign a blank cheque with Beckett’s name on it.”
Mr Coyne, who narrowly lost to Mr McCluskey in a bitter contest in 2017, tore into Unite’s old guard for constantly trying to meddle in politics rather than represent their members.
He said: “My union, Unite, has spent years trying to run the Labour Party.
“But I do not want to be Labour’s back seat driver.” The battle for Unite will have a huge impact on Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour Party.
The union is Labour’s biggest donor, but its left-wing leaders have warned they could cut the purse strings if the party ditches its Corbynista policies.
Mr Turner has darkly warned Sir Keir he must not “bin” this agenda.
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Moderate Labour MPs hope that if Mr Coyne wins he will wrestle the union back from the left and help put another nail in the coffin of Corbynism.
One Labour veteran told The Sun: “If Gerard wins, it is a huge victory for Keir.”
A spokesman for Mr Turner denied a secret deal has been done. He said: “This is nonsense. Steve Turner is standing on his platform, nobody else’s.”