Working class people face huge challenges at work and in our communities. We have endured decades of high unemployment, deregulation, anti-union legislation, privatisation, cuts and outsourcing, alongside an inadequate response from our unions. Many have felt powerless and vulnerable as our jobs, pay and conditions, services and rights are attacked.
Yet workers continue to resist, and when we do, we usually achieve some measure of success. Workers create all the profits, and we have enormous power – if we have the consciousness and organisation to use it.
The low turnout and lacklustre results of the senior officials standing in the Unite elections earlier this year showed that there is a large and growing disconnect between our union’s leadership, structures, and members. They also showed that a significant minority of members want to see a more radical, robust and bottom-up response to the challenges facing us – just as the response to Jeremy Corbyn shows that millions want something more than a fresh gloss on the same old free-market fundamentalism. There is a widespread desire for a more democratic culture, where discrimination is not tolerated. This is essential if we are to maximise involvement in building a strong union.
“Unite Rank and File: solidarity across the union” is a new network of Unite members which aims to:
- Build solidarity
- Encourage resistance and make our union do more to encourage it
- Put activists in touch with each other, share information and ideas
- Champion independent workers’ organisation and challenge the toxic “in partnership with management” culture so widespread in Unite
- Supporting the development of rank and file networks and campaigning initiatives throughout our union
- Campaign to reform and reinvigorate Unite’s democratic structures to promote a bottom-up culture where members participate, challenge discrimination and are in control
- Campaign to change Unite policies e.g. against Trident and for workers’ rights to move freely and be treated equally
While the impetus for the new grouping came out of the campaign to elect Ian Allinson as General Secretary, we are not seeking to create yet another electoral faction within Unite. We welcome your participation irrespective of your views on the recent elections or whether or not you are affiliated with any of the electoral groupings such as United Left.