Analysis Breaking Exclusive

Graham ally Seaman’s ‘future on Unite exec in doubt’ as union examines past and eligibility

Tony Seaman with Sharon Graham

The future of Tony Seaman, a close ally of general secretary Sharon Graham, on the Unite executive is in doubt, despite him recently winning re-election to the union’s ruling body, according to union insiders.

Seaman was allowed to stand despite the union already concluding that he had made racist comments on social media – and despite questions over the funding of his key role in the controversial Unite conference centre project – but insiders say that the election body and the union’s constitutional experts are re-examining his record and his eligibility to stand.

The news is a blow to Graham’s influence on the Unite executive, where her candidates had already underperformed and a number of her closest allies were voted off despite ‘dark money’ ads and the efforts of her organisers, as the left-wing ‘Members First’ slate performed well and achieved a majority.

Graham’s tenure as general secretary has been marked by controversy after she was accused of trying to have evidence against her husband destroyed – he was on a final warning from the union for his conduct and was the subject of a string of bullying and misogyny complaints, but now holds a senior position in her team. She has also been the subject of intense protests in Ireland over Unite’s treatment of Irish union legend Brendan Ogle, who did not support her bid to become general secretary.

Mr Seaman was not contacted for comment, as he has previously told Skwawkbox never to contact him again.

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  1. Sharon Graham IS the centre of a power clique within Unite the Union. Her clique’s success has probably been critical to Starmer and the Trilateralists’ effective take-over of the day-to-day running of the Labour party. This Tony Seaman story encourages me to believe that the union can repair itself from self-inflicted damage.

    Not a member myself, I get my news and analysis about the union mostly from former Labour members who assure me that curtailing Graham’s influence in the union is a good thing. Thanks for reporting it Skwawkbox.

  2. One thing I find confusing here is that back in the day when I was a Union Rep. the ‘left’ and ‘right’ wing slates come election time took the labels ‘Broad left’ (or as some of us who regularly attended their meetings and supported them used to say the “Bored Death.”) for the “left” slate and “Members First” for the “right” slate. Though you could find what might best be described as “fellow travelers” on both slates.

    You would regularly open a newspaper come Union Executive or GS/President election time to read the former Labour Peer Woodrow Wyatt putting out the right wing Members First slate whatever Union it was.

    Would it be safe to conclude that the ‘left’ have appropriated the former label of the ‘right’ and that the ‘right’ wing slate across the Unions have adopted a different label/persona?

    1. Dave, If I were a member, I’d vote for a candidate from the Members First platform of the United Left.

      Never noticed it before, Dave H, but ‘members first’ is the sort of name that a CIA-backed entryist would have a wet dream over (a la “Labour First”) but, as you certainly know, ‘Members First’ is authentic and impressive.

      Given that less than 3% of members voted for the current Gen Sec, I hope United Left’s Members First platform is successful in generating interest and active membership in Unite.

      1. qwertboi – You too could have a vote, there’s nothing to stop you from joining as a Community Member.

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