United Left National Coordinating Committee statement on the upcoming General Secretary election

Steve Turner for Unite GS
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Statement agreed at the UL NCC on Tuesday 21 April 2021

The United Left welcomes all Unite members who support the UL candidate Steve Turner. Steve is the democratically elected and endorsed UL candidate.

If any UL member actively supports any other GS candidate they will automatically put themselves outside the UL.

United Left NCC 21 April 2021


The United Left National Coordinating Committee agreed the statement above to ensure there is a clear position regarding the upcoming General Secretary election timetable (which was agreed at the EC meeting on the 14 April).

The UL held a democratic Hustings in 2020. The winning candidate was Unite AGS Steve Turner, a comrade with over 35 years’ experience in Unite and one of its predecessor unions TGWU. Steve has been an activist in both the UL and the TGWU Broad Left for a similar amount of time, heading up Len McCluskey’s GS election campaigns in 2010, 2013 & 2017.

Steve has a wealth of experience covering many senior roles within the union. Recently he negotiated the furlough scheme with Francis O’Grady and other senior union leaders. He helped negotiate the successful saving of the Rolls Royce factory at Barnoldswick, ensuring a future for our members, families, and the local community.

It is disappointing but not unexpected that some senior comrades from the UL have chosen to actively support other GS candidates. The divisions within the UL have been apparent for a long time before the 2020 hustings. The UL is not an off the-shelf construct for any individual’s election campaign, and we will continue to campaign for the candidate our members democratically backed – Steve Turner. 

All United Left members are aware that by actively supporting a non-United Left candidate they place themselves outside of the United Left.

We wish the comrades who have placed themselves outside the UL well, but we will remain focused on the task in hand, working alongside Team Steve to help ensure Steve is the next Unite GS, continuing to build on the positive gains of Len’s term of office but ensuring a new strong vision for our union post Covid, post Brexit. 

Our union needs that vision to be based on the interests of our members in workplaces and branches, defending our terms and conditions, together with the strengthening of a trade union voice and influence politically. We especially need to organise the unorganised; young workers blighted by precarious employment and the so called “gig” economy.

Steve’s industrial vision around a Green New Deal based on well-paid, unionised manufacturing jobs, with genuine apprenticeships, providing a real future for working class communities, must be the cornerstone of Unite’s industrial policies to combat climate breakdown and de-industrialisation.

As Dolores Huerta, the great Mexican- American union organiser said; 

Every moment is an organsing opportunity, every person a potential activist, every minute a chance to change the world.

You can join the UL and support Steve’s campaign here

Visit Steve Turner’s campaign website here

Jim Kelly, Chair United Left