Front Page GS Election 2021 National News Unite press release

Sharon Graham, UNITE’s New General Secretary.

Unite the union has today (Wednesday) announced the final results of its members’ vote for each of the three candidates which is as follows: 

Sharon Graham –  46,696 votes

Steve Turner – 41,833 votes

Gerard Coyne – 35,334 votes.

A total of 124,147 votes were cast.

Sharon Graham will succeed Len McCluskey who has been general secretary of the 1.2 million-strong union since 2010.

Commenting, the outgoing general secretary Len McCluskey said: “I thoroughly congratulate Sharon on her victory, which reaffirms her as the most formidable campaigning force in our movement.

“It’s a fantastic achievement and I am very proud to be handing over to our first woman general secretary.

“I have been hugely privileged to be at the helm of Unite for the past eleven years.   Sharon has been a valued and close friend and an integral part of my senior team throughout my time in office so I know from experience that she is a talented, dedicated and passionate trade unionist.  I have every faith that she will run our union in a manner true to its fighting back spirit.

“Sharon comes into office at a time of great uncertainty for our members and a challenging political environment. From assaults on workers’ rights to the fear that the end of furlough will bring with it increased and needless unemployment, the in-tray is full. But I know that she will build on our values and harness the talents of our great union in the service of our members and our movement.”

Sharon Graham said: “I am honoured to have been elected by our members, and I understand that the trust that they have placed in me brings with it tremendous responsibility.

“Our members expect their union to be in their corner so I was proud to stand on a manifesto that pledged to put our members and our workplaces first.  I will deliver on those promises.

“Unite is an incredible force for good in the UK and Ireland but I am fully aware of the huge challenges our members face in the workplace.

“As general secretary, I will put all the power of our union into defending their jobs, improving their pay and protecting their rights.  

“Bad bosses take note.  A strong Unite is the best defence that our members can have – my focus now is to build that strength.”

Sharon Graham will take office on Thursday 26 August, 2021.

About Sharon Graham

London-born Sharon began her working life at the age of 16 as a silver service waitress.  She led her first walkout aged 17 to win better pay and conditions for the workers.  

Sharon is an Executive Officer of Unite where she has developed the union’s Organising and Leverage department which specialises in taking on hostile employers.  Her team has a 100 per cent winning track record.

Over the past twenty years,  Sharon has developed innovative ways to organise and defend workers including providing specialist tools to Unite’s workplace reps, which are recognised as leading-edge across the global trade union movement.