My union will no longer rely on Labour – fighting for our members must come first | Sharon Graham

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It was early morning at a factory on Humberside. My campaign team were handing out leaflets as workers made their way in to work. One worker told the team: “I voted for the best candidate for the workers. And don’t ask me who, that’s between me and the ballot box – but she’s good.”

When I heard the story I knew I could win the election for Unite’s general secretary. The factory wasn’t one that had nominated me to stand in the election. We didn’t have supporters inside trying to deliver our vote. It was totally new ground for us. And there was only one woman on the ballot paper.

Many observers called the election wrongly. They failed to see that our campaign was a crusade for change, not yet another vote for Buggins’ turn; they underestimated how much this reflected the mood among union members. And we had a volunteer army that refused to be beaten, battling for every vote. In the end our victory was decisive.

Post pandemic, I believe…

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