Why I’m Standing for Real Change – in Unison and for Momentum’s NCG

By Amerit Rait

I started working with Momentum’s current National Coordinating Group when I stood on the Time for Real Change slate for Unison’s National Executive Council. We worked together on the campaign and I and the majority of the left wing comrades standing were successfully elected – the first ever left wing NEC to be elected in our union. As expected, we soon faced attacks by the right wing, so we’ve been continuing to work with the NCG and Momentum activists to support and bolster our position, and continue to defend Paul Holmes from the unjust trade union victimisation against him.

Unison has been exploited as a vehicle by the Labour right for a long time – they have worked against our members’ interests, pursuing their own factional agenda within the Labour Party. The right wing still had power and influence over the Labour Link at Labour conference last year, and they voted to support Keir Starmer’s oppressive rule changes against the left. As one of the country’s two biggest unions, Unison delegates hold the power of over 200,000 votes on the Labour conference floor. This right wing defiance is why we lost out on some key motions, but we’re determined they won’t get away with that again.

The left are on the march in Unison, and we won’t be stopped. I’ve been working to connect grassroots Unison activists with working class communities, making sure that our members understand Unison is their union, that it must be led by members. Members must feel they have a stake and real say in our union to make sure we are able to fight as an organising union, like our sister union RMT who are currently standing up against their employers and the disgraceful disregard for workers’ rights and conditions by this government.

Britain’s workers are coming out of the pandemic with a new militancy – we have shown over the past two years who are the important key workers. We are! And we demand a pay rise, job security, and improved working conditions. Unison and our sister unions are building up a war chest to fight this government and the fantastic TUC march earlier this month shows what an appetite we have for this fight. 

Momentum’s Trade Union Network is one of the most inspiring developments over the past two years: a national network for the socialist rank and file, to bolster trade union participation within Momentum’s mass membership, to ensure members are confident and skilled workplace activists, and to connect trade unionists across the country. Your Momentum will develop this vital work, to support what is shaping up to be a summer of urgent workplace struggle. And we’ll establish ten regional Trade Union Networks because so much of our workplace organising is regionally specific, and we can build power more effectively this way. 

Unison has changed, and so has Momentum. Time for Real Change’s strategy – to empower the rank and file and link labour organising with working class communities, aligns with Your Momentum’s plan to build power in the Labour Party and beyond. As socialists we must always be defending working class interests in our communities and the workplace as well as in the Labour Party. 

This is why I’m standing for Momentum’s NCG on the Your Momentum slate for London and East. If elected I’ll continue to strengthen the successful working relationship the Unison left has established with the NCG, to help us coordinate around workplace struggles, and I’ll bring all my experience and expertise to Momentum’s Trade Union Network.

Vote Your Momentum in London and East: Amerit Rait, Lorcan Whitehead, Imogen Tranchell and Sonali Bhattacharyya.

Amerit Rait is Vice President of Unison and is standing on the Your Momentum slate for election to the National Coordinating Group.

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