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Letters — Unite union must commit to at least 10 percent pay rises

As inflation soars, Unite and other unions must demand more for their workers
Issue 2793
Unite union strikers outside St Bart's hospital in the City of London

Strikers, like Unite union members at Barts NHS Trust fighting for pay need, full union backing (Picture: Guy Smallman)

Sharon Graham, the recently elected general secretary of the Unite union, has rightly stated that the rate of inflation should be measured by using RPI not CPI.

CPI is the more favourable method of calculation for employers. It currently stands at 5.5 percent. RPI offers a more accurate measurement of inflation by including more factors. This is now at 7.8 percent.

Rising prices have had a devastating effect, as working people and families struggle to make ends meet. Meanwhile, bosses and shareholders are stocking up on champagne and purchasing new holiday homes with their increased wealth and bonuses taken straight from workers’ pockets.

Never has the wealth and class divide been so evident. It is absolutely vital that across all sectors and industries workers organise and demand a pay rise starting at the 10 percent mark.

Inflation shows no signs of stalling, and the role Unite can play is enormous. It must uphold its commitment that members aren’t to be made to pay for the current economic crisis.

Unite must throw itself behind every striking worker and picket line across Britain. That’s especially important at a time when we have a Labour Party that has made it very clear it won’t be coming to save us.

Unite should agree a motion across all its regional and national structures to advise and support its workplace representatives to put in pay claims at no less than 10 percent. 

The trade union movement can fill the void Labour has left. It’s time for workers to unite—whether in aerospace or hospitality. We must stand side by side in solidarity and fight for one another.

If there are strikes in our local regions, every trade unionist must look to give branch donations, letters of solidarity and support the picket lines. Unions are only as strong as their lay members. It’s time for us to say no more pay cuts.

Jed Ellis

Rolls-Royce Aero Bristol and Unite shop stewards committee

Pop-up bar crashes down

The Saturday before last Clapton Community FC played Stonewall FC in a non-league football match in east London. After the game many of the 300 fans headed to Two More Years for a social. Two More Years is a pop-up bar—named after the length of its lease—in a converted warehouse

After around 15 minutes there was a loud cracking sound. Right before me—seemingly in slow motion to start with and then with an almighty rush—the ceiling fell to the floor. Those of us at ground level facing it immediately shouted, “Get out!” 

Along with the collapse coming down in a V-shape, this enabled those under the ceiling to move away without any serious injuries. But the situation was not so lucky for those who were sitting above. 

We gathered outside checking for missing friends with a mixture of shock, worry, and increasing anger. How could a floor collapse? There will be questions to be answered about the planning, the construction methods and who carried out the work.

Hopefully the investigation by the fire brigade and Tower Hamlets council will find the cause and attempt to prevent a repeat that could put our lives in danger. In the end three people were taken to hospital with serious injuries. We were lucky that there weren’t deaths.

Mick Allchin


Students and workers demand LGBT+ inclusion

In December 2021 UCL university in central London severed its links with Stonewall, Britain’s leading LGBT+ charity. This was in defiance of the student union, staff unions and the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

The decision was made on transphobic grounds under the guise of “upholding academic freedoms”. It came as a massive blow to LGBT+ students and workers. But there was resistance, and a protest against the decision was organised recently. 

Trans and pride flags and a Unison union banner joined. Assembling at the main campus and later outside the dean’s office, protesters demanded the university re-form ties with Stonewall. 

This is needed to ensure the rights and safety of its trans students and the workers.

Anoushka Mago


Unsafe masks risk workers in the NHS

As an NHS worker, I was so angry when I received an email at work that said the face mask FFP2 NR had been recalled after a safety alert.

The email from our NHS trust was sent to over 6,000 workers. It said that the mask model number N9501F made by Zhende Medical “had been removed from government IPC guidance”. 

“These were received very early in the pandemic so may have already been used,” it continued reassuringly. It added, “These face masks are not currently supported for use and should not be worn” with “immediate effect”.

Worryingly, workers may still be using and storing the inadequate equipment. Why has it taken two years to realise these are not safe? Not only were we left with a lack of PPE during the pandemic when we risked our lives but it turns out that what we did have was dangerous.

Trusts supplying unsafe masks is a warning to all health workers. It’s further proof of a need to fight back for better safety and conditions against the people who thought clapping us weekly was enough.


North west England

Tories and police are the criminals

Why is it that throughout history the Tories always try to make working people look like criminals? And they use the police to enforce the idea.  Nothing has changed, except the greed of the Tories is worse.

After Met police leader Cressida Dick’s resignation, we have an even more corrupt group of people with the power to pick the next “rotten apple” to enforce the Tories’ rule.

The police draw in the type of people they want to employ. It pays to join them if you’re criminal minded, just as much as it does joining the Tory party.

Andrew Dudley


Cressida Dick is a liar of Boris Johnson proportions. I remember her mocking a liaison between a home secretary and a police protection officer on the television series The Bodyguard as ludicrous.

Yet precisely the same thing had happened on her watch.

Philip Foxe


Sunak is a rich fraud

Tory chancellor Rishi Sunak’s £200 “discount” on fuel bills is not just misleading, it is criminally fraudulent and needs to be held to account. 

I urge comrades to lodge a formal complaint with the Financial Conduct Authority.

Jim Peters


Solidarity with Chep UK strikers

Keep up the fight guys. I wish the rest of the country would come out in solidarity. Keep showing them we are not putting up with it.

Janet Allen


We have a government that is taking away workers’ rights and anything else they can get their hands on. Time to stand up and fight back.

Ray Carter


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