Analysis Breaking

Graham denies knowing Unite EC slate candidate after revelations of racist social media

Unite denies GS even ‘aware of’ candidate running on pro-Graham ‘slate’ in elections to union’s executive

The candidate on the ‘slate’ of hopefuls in Unite’s executive council (EC) elections who support the union’s general secretary Sharon Graham has reportedly ‘withdrawn’ from the contest after Skwawkbox’s exclusive coverage of Islamophobic and anti-immigrant social media posts was picked up by the ‘mainstream’ media.

Sam Shaw had posted images of himself in a dinghy with what appears to be a caricature of Shamima Begum and another immigrant. A right-wing Scottish paper has run the story – but despite Shaw bidding for the EC’s LGBT+ place and Graham using support for LGBT+ rights in her social media, the union has claimed she was unaware of Shaw’s existence:

Please be clear that his candidacy for the Executive Council was not endorsed by the General Secretary, who is not even aware of him.

Shaw had, however, made Graham a centrepiece of his campaign:

The Graham camp has been accused of accepting supportive candidates ineligible to stand because they do not represent Unite members in a workplace, as the regime seeks control of the elected lay executive. Neither the union nor the candidates have responded adequately to questions about the issues, again without adequate response from the candidates or the union.

Shaw, whose social media had allegedly been cleared of other problematic posts when he launched his bid, is also not the first pro-Graham candidate to be accused of racism. Skwawkbox exclusively revealed that the union, under its current general secretary, had agreed with complainants that at least one post by Tony Seaman, a close ally of Sharon Graham, was racist – but the regime brushed the complaint under the carpet to the outrage of the branches that had lodged complaints about it.

Unite has consistently refused to respond directly to questions about these matters, or about others as serious as Graham’s alleged attempts to have evidence destroyed in bullying and sexism complaints against her husband, who was subsequently appointed to a senior position in her team, outside the union’s usual approval procedure, despite a litany of complaints from union staff about his conduct.

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