The first executive council (EC) of Unite, the new union formed from the merger of Amicus and the T&G, took office on 1 May and held its first meeting last week.
About three quarters of the EC was elected on a broad left platform.
But there has been a lot of manoeuvring to prevent this delivering a union with a clear left direction and control by the members.
A recent national meeting of Amicus Unity Gazette, the broad left grouping in the Amicus section of Unite, saw a significant shift to the left.
The north west region adopted a position much more independent of joint general secretary Derek Simpson.
It decided to back candidates for the editorial board reflecting this.
Those close to Simpson, mainly from South Yorkshire, didn’t stand for election and later walked out of the meeting.
This division in the left became even starker at last week’s EC meeting.
Most of the EC members elected on the Gazette slate backed two right wing candidates for the key finance and general purposes committee.
They did this in preference to the national chair of the Gazette and the Gazette supporter who had received most votes in the EC elections.
Despite the difficulties, there is a real prospect of the left groupings in Amicus and the T&G coming together to form a new left organisation with real influence in the country’s biggest union.
This is vital if members are to prevent Simpson and Tony Woodley, the joint general secretaries, playing off the two sections against each other to retain control.
The Unite EC approved a report on the merger talks with the United Steel Workers union, which operates in the US and Canada, as an attempt to present more effective resistance to multinational companies.