Sharon is a winner who has a proven track record of protecting jobs, pay and conditions.
After British Airways threatened to ‘Fire and Rehire’ over 20,000 of our members, Sharon was brought in to get the company back to the negotiating table. In just three weeks and in the middle of the pandemic, Sharon put together BABetrayal, a crisis campaign that put BA on the back foot and led directly to a better outcome for many members.
When major construction firms wanted to pull away from national bargaining and introduce inferior contracts that would have cost our members thousands of pounds, Sharon launched a major Leverage campaign and together with rank and file activists, defeated BESNA.
At Yorkshire Ambulance when our members’ employer tried to rip up our agreement, Sharon led a comprehensive campaign that defeated the proposals and reinstated collective bargaining.
When Mayr-Melnhof Packaging illegally shut their site in the North West, the law offered no protection to our members. Instead, Sharon led the Leverage campaign that followed the owners to Austria and won hundreds of thousands of pounds for our members.
In the case of Liverpool Mutual Homes, Sharon campaigned with our Shop Stewards and members employed in maintenance who had been sacked in a disgraceful way. Following a long campaign and with little serious support from the Labour Council, Sharon won a significant settlement for our members.
Sharon led our Union’s first successful campaign to organise workers employed by low cost airlines. To win the right to negotiate pay and conditions at Flybe, Sharon had to first defeat the Union buster ‘Burke Group’ and in doing so became the first Union official in Europe to do so.
When leading the campaign to build our Union in the meat industry, Sharon established Unite’s first official Shop Stewards Combine, which went on to win some of the first ‘equal treatment’ agreements in our Union. When negotiating with Grampian Food, Sharon made sure that migrant agency workers could not be exploited and that temporary working could not be used to undercut pay and conditions.
Sharon also led our Union’s successful campaign to protect our NHS from the trade deal TTIP. Working with activists across the Union, including our retired and community members, Sharon succeeded where others had failed, winning concessions from a Conservative Government. Following Sharon’s campaign the Government took the unprecedented step of amending the Queen’s Speech to include protection for our NHS. Sharon proved that Labour does not have to be in power for our Union to win.
When Honda tried to sack our Senior Shop Steward on trumped up charges when he stood up to the firm’s plans to end wage bargaining, Sharon led the Union’s first Leverage campaign and negotiated the reinstatement of our activist, before delivering an organising drive that doubled our membership.
When Bromley Council attacked our Rep’s for resisting cuts and closures, Sharon’s campaign made the Council back down.
When 2 Sisters Food Group sacked over forty Unite members including many of our Shop Stewards, Sharon got everyone back to work.
Sharon led the Leverage campaign against Crossrail contractors that both exposed the disgraceful practice of ‘blacklisting’ on Europe’s biggest infrastructure project and for the first time won reinstatement for a blacklisted Unite activist. Sharon will deliver real justice for ‘blacklisted’ workers.
Sharon took it on herself to start Work, Voice & Pay to get better workplace focused information to the front line. Since then she has developed and launched a whole host of new, practical digital guides and tools, including:
Work, Voice & Pay Monthly
The Pay Claim Generator & Employer Profile Generator
Model Bargaining Agreements and Guides, including on issues such as; Agency, Facilities, Surveillance, Recognition, Apprenticeships, New Technology and Lockdown.
Unite Investigates, detailed reports into the workplace impact of Automation and Casualisation.
The Collective Agreements Database & Agreement Builder.
Sharon has already put action above rhetoric and delivered for our Shop Stewards. As General Secretary Sharon will ramp-up support for activists and drive forward new ideas and innovation.
Over 800 workers joined our Union at Easyjet during a campaign that won recognition at the call centre, tripled the number of Reps and won improvements to basic and holiday pay.
In aviation we became the first Union in Europe to defeat the American Union buster the Burke Group and win recognition with a record vote in favour of the Union on a record turnout.
As part of a campaign focussed on aviation contractors, the company ICTS became the first to sign the Minimum Standards Agreement, protecting agency workers and preventing the undercutting of pay and conditions.
Fifteen years ago Sharon led the Union’s historic first national organising campaign targeting the Meat industry. The first official ‘combine’ was established bringing together over fifty Shop Stewards from all the major employers and over 10,000 new members joined our Union.
As a result of our campaign; the first ever national strike at Grampian (now 2 Sisters) delivered an improved pay, we won permanent work for agency workers at Moy Park and Bernard Matthews became the first company in the industry to sign the Minimum Standards Agreement. We also secured new rights to bargain at 2 Sisters which at that time was the key ‘undercutter’ but has since gone on to become the dominant firm in the industry. Collective bargaining was secured and many issues were also resolved at Hilton Foods, Foyle Group, ABP Meats, Kerry Foods, Tulip, Cranswick and Dawn Meats.
Sharon has also proved that there are no ‘no go’ areas for Unite. For example, the campaign against seasonal horticulture company S&A Foods and their treatment of migrant workers, showed that it is possible to win against employers in the most unlikely circumstances. 4,000 seasonal workers were being ruthlessly exploited, with the employer deducting wages for a whole host of ridiculous reasons including charging workers £50 to call an ambulance. By the end of the campaign Sharon’s team had brought the firm’s customers to the negotiating table and the Union had recognition, facilities for Rep’s and a proper grievance procedure in place.
Building on the first Sainsbury’s recruitment drive, Sharon’s team led a renewed campaign to grow the membership and number of activists. This led to over 800 new members joining the Union and a significant increase in Rep’s to take the total to over 500. Bargaining wins during the campaign included a 4% increase for the entire workforce and the four years back pay of previously unpaid holiday pay.
In the manufacturing sector, Sharon led the campaign to organise concrete manufacturer Marshalls, quadrupling the membership and winning recognition at an additional 20 sites. She helped establish the National Shop Stewards Combine and one of its first acts was to force the company to drop plans for compulsory redundancies.
Under Sharon’s leadership a long-term organising campaign delivered bargaining rights at the Immingham port owned by Associated British Ports (ABP). The team also helped win recognition at a port in Wales belonging to the same firm.
The construction campaign won new agreements, protocols and membership growth across a number of employers, contractors and sites including; Hinkley Point C, BAM, MACE, Morgan Sindall, Vinci, and Wilmott Dixon.
As part of the campaign, the Construction Charter was designed to commit public authorities to ending blacklisting on contracts, adhere to national agreements and secure Union rights. The team has since secured sign-up by almost 60 Local Authorities, helping to guarantee decent procurement practices.