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Candidate Statement: Why I'm Standing

“Jobs, Pay, Safety – ‘I’ve got your back”

39 years ago, when I joined our union as a bus worker, my union gave me hope and a future. I want to repay that by devoting my leadership to the protection and advancement of your jobs, pay, families and communities.

I am proud of Unite and what it has achieved. Over fourteen years it has become a powerful force in tens of thousands of workplaces fighting for jobs, pay and against employer abuses. It has become the clearest voice for working people across Britain and Ireland.

Under my leadership that will remain our mission. But I know we need to do more, differently and better.  The world of work is changing and so must we.

So my pledge is that together we will upgrade Unite, starting with giving our reps and activists all they need to deliver for you.

My programme is an exciting one:

  • ‘One Call, That’s All’. A freephone number and ‘unite assist’ app to give you support and information when you need it, wherever you may be, 24/7.
  • World-leading education, training, investment and resources to help you and your reps win at work.
  • A massive green economy programme demanding a workers transition to create decent work, grow UK manufacturing, improve our health and strengthen our communities.
  • A dedicated team for the protection and growth of our public services, keeping our assets out of private hands – and with our pandemic heroes from the NHS to the buses rewarded properly.
  • I have played a big part in keeping Unite financially strong and I will use that strength to invest in you. A subs freeze for at least two years to help our members through these tough times, with a review of subs rates across the board – but with no cutting corners on support and representation.
  • Rapid response, industrial campaigns teams to support you. From Sports Direct to fire and rehire, I have shown that we will always take on – and beat – bad bosses.
  • A digital renewal of Unite, with new sector and workplace apps to help organise precarious workers and investment in a Unite TV project.
  • Clear on-going opposition to; austerity, off-shoring, outsourcing, poverty pay, cuts to universal credit and the failed politics driving down living standards.
  • No ‘no-go areas’ - Unite will target and grow in emerging sectors and changing workplaces, from warehousing to home working, fighting exploitation and the race to the bottom. We will build on the great work done by our Organising and Leverage team in spreading trade unionism and taking on bad employers.
  • Review Unite’s structures to ensure that Scotland, Ireland, Wales and our English regions have a bigger voice and resources to match, without diluting our unity.

I have walked in your shoes. Dyslexic and reliant on free school meals, then unemployed and raising a young family, I know what it’s like to struggle to pay the bills and put food on the table. I’ve walked miles for job interviews because I couldn’t afford the fare. Stood at the roadside in the hope of a day’s work from a passing van.

When I joined our union my life changed. Our union put its faith in me. For four decades, from union rep to local officer to assistant general secretary, you, our members, have always come first. Experience is essential to lead our union and I have gained it at every level.

I am proud of the role I played for Unite in securing the furlough programme, saving 11 million workers from unemployment during the Covid pandemic, and giving industries from manufacturing to aviation a fighting chance of coming through. 

I’ve been inspired by our amazing retired and community members and will build on their work, supporting and resourcing their activities. I lead for our retired members across our union and value their lifetime contribution to our movement. I will continue to argue for their inclusion in our structures and equal access to membership benefits such as the funeral benefit.

Incredible people have given me their support, from every sector, region and nation of this union. Because I have delivered, saving jobs and supporting members in some of the biggest fights of our time – from the occupation of Harland and Wolff to the re-opening of Appledore and winning a long-term future for Rolls Royce, Barnoldswick - they trust in me to continue to win industrially where it matters.

I am delighted to have the backing of Howard Beckett and his team, and will draw on their energy and ideas. I will ask Howard, as a key member of my team, to work on connecting our community and industrial branches to help strengthen our community work.

I am truly honoured by the support I’ve had from our union’s women and equalities leaders. Our exceptional AGS for equalities, Diana Holland, has supported me to lead this union, as has almost every senior woman official, to ensure we remain the beacon for justice in our movement. Diana is rightly respected as the pre-eminent champion of women and all equalities in the trade union and labour movement. Her backing for me speaks volumes.

We will put creches at our conferences and prioritise organising in sectors with gender pay gaps.

We must push back against the peddlers of hatred that seek to divide us. This is why I led the development of our Unity over Division programme. It’s breaking down barriers, creating trust, combating misunderstanding and racism in our workplaces and communities. I back Show Racism the Red Card too.

I will be a clear, confident voice in the political arena, on the progressive left where I have been all my life, holding politicians to account, with no blank cheques for Labour. But Unite is not a political party. We serve ALL our members and if any politician challenge their interests, I will oppose them.

My vision for Unite is a positive one – join me in building a bigger, better union and remember - I will always have your back!


Membership Number: 14179492 
Branch: LE/128
E-mail:  info@steveturner4gs.org

Mobile: 07730894705 and/or 07930595016

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