Sharon Graham wins Unite election – meaning the nomination process is broken

Sharon Graham: she’s the new Unite general secretary but the election has cast a shadow over the legitimacy of the nomination process.

Congratulations to Sharon Graham for becoming the first female general secretary of the UK’s largest trade union, Unite.

And well done to her, also, for demonstrating that the mechanism for nominating candidates is badly broken and must be improved.

We can see this because of the number of Unite branches that were seen to nominate different candidates.

Steve Turner reckoned he had 525 branches behind him – the most of any candidate – but it is widely believed that he only beat right-winger Gerard Coyne into second place because supporters of Howard Beckett held their noses and voted for him.

Beckett himself managed 328 branch nominations but pulled out in order not to split the Left vote. In hindsight, that may seem ill-advised.

Graham herself had 349, while Coyne managed just 196.

The fact that these nominations were not matched by the proportion of votes offered to each candidate indicates that there’s something wrong with the process.

I don’t know what that process is, but if it doesn’t offer sufficient weight to the number of members in each branch who support a particular candidate, then it needs to be fixed.

If it doesn’t even allow rank-and-file branch members a say, then it must be corrected at the earliest opportunity.

And there’s a knock-on effect, too: because they saw Turner receiving the most nominations, so-called ‘optics Left’ ‘influencers’ tried to exert pressure on Graham and Beckett to withdraw (successfully, in Beckett’s case).

We see now that this was a bad call.

You can read a more detailed piece about this over on Skwawkbox.

The message to take home is that Unite could have ended up with a leader who did not represent the intentions of its voting members – because of its faulty nomination system and the reactions of influential people.

Source: Graham’s win discredits Unite nominations process – and destroys ‘blue-tick’ left’s credibility – SKWAWKBOX

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3 thoughts on “Sharon Graham wins Unite election – meaning the nomination process is broken

  1. Stephen Brophy

    I really don’t get why right wingers are part of a socialist organisation like a union! and as for its members voting for a right wing candidate show how moronic some people are! this is why we are stuck with a tory government! it seems the working people are their own worst enemy!

  2. Elaine Jacobs

    Surely everyone has the right to be represented by his/her union, whatever his/her politics! People with RW views may deserve a pay rise, for example, just as much as those with LW (or no) views. They can also be threatened, or treated unfairly, by their empoyers.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Sure. But if the union itself is run by someone with right-wing views, then it won’t properly represent those people in actually trying to achieve the pay rise they need. It will side with the employers who will take the profits for themselves rather than investing some of them in the workforce.

      Sure, you can be a low-paid worker with right-wing views. There are, after all, millions of working-class Tories. But part of that choice is to be poor for your whole working life and to watch the working conditions – sick pay, holiday pay, four weeks’ holiday per year – being cut away from you so you make more money for someone who doesn’t actually do any work at all.

Comments are closed.