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Jim Kelly, Chair of United Left calls for unity

There are many excellent members and activists who have campaigned for Sharon Graham since the election was declared in April. The United Left and Team Steve share many of their core ideas; strong workplace organisation, an effective organising strategy, and the use of leverage on employers to supplement the industrial strength of our members in struggle. 

These strategies need to be re-energised, and we need to investigate new models to ensure our left strategy goes forward. The industrial landscape post Brexit, post COVID will be challenging. 

Our members, families, and communities need a strong effective Unite, capable of fighting back and winning, as Steve showed with the Rolls Royce Barnoldswick dispute.

Steve has always employed a collegiate working ethos and now more than ever Unite needs ALL its capable leaders in the fight. Steve has already raised this in his unity statement with Howard. 

Sharon has no road to victory now, with the other two left candidates accepting the need for unity and strengthening the left vote in the GS election which begins on 5 July. 

What Sharon can do however is continue to split the resources and voting strength of the left in what will be a hard fight against a candidate backed by the establishment.

Steve and Howard are not the opposition; Gerard Coyne is. Coyne has had a good week since the nominations results busily promoting himself while enjoying the left doing what the left is so prone to do, infighting. 

The issue at stake in this election is defending our members, rejecting the strategy of managing decline and ensuring a political strategy driven by the industrial needs of Unite members. 

Howard and his supporters heeded the call for uniting the left vote to ensure we defeat Gerard Coyne. The United Left recognises that this was a tough call for many of them. 

We are making a call to all left trades’ unionists to build on the leadership shown by Steve and Howard and their supporters. 

If you have supported Sharon because you thought she was best placed to beat Coyne, please open a dialogue with Sharon’s leadership team, and ask them to build on the momentum of today’s unity statement from Steve and Howard and join forces behind Steve’s leadership campaign. It is blindingly obvious that the best way to defeat Coyne and his Blairite politics is to have a single left candidate.

Our members are now looking for serious leadership, vision, and policies to defend their terms and conditions and their families’ living standards. 

We cannot afford to spend the next five years in recriminations as to why we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Jim Kelly

Chair United Left