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From Jerry Hicks: Re: Election for Unite General Secretary.
Branch/Workplace nomination period 1st January to 15th February returned by 22nd February.
Postal ballot of 1.5 million members from 18th March to 12th April 2013
Who would have imagined that Unite would be holding a ‘snap election’ for General Secretary so soon after the last one? Who would have guessed Len McCluskey would be seeking to ‘renew a mandate’ after only 2 years in office and with 3 more years still to go?So who did demand this “election”? Especially at a time when the union should be concentrating all its resources on fighting the cuts to services, pensions, jobs and attacks on members and their families’ livelihoods.
Was it the thousands of Branch Secretaries? No!
Was it the hundreds of Unite committee chairs? No!
Was it the tens of thousands of workplace reps? No!
hatever good Unite has done over the last 2 years has now been tainted, and what is happening is wrong. This election has been called on a flawed premise, it’s being fast tracked, it’s an election tailor made to suit one member above all others - 1.5 million others, and that far from ‘seeking to renew a mandate’ it is an affront to democracy.
The speed at which this election is being rushed through gives little time for anyone to organise other than the existing GS, Mr McCluskey.
Unless there is another candidate, Mr McCluskey will be “elected” unopposed, effectively extending his term of office without members actually voting until 2018 by which time he will be 67. Perhaps this is why the election was brought forward 3 years instead of 1 or 2 years. Unite supports the ‘68 is too late’ campaign. Do the maths. I support the campaign ‘68 is too late’ but so is 67. We should fight to reverse the raising of the retirement age.
I say to call it an ‘election’ is being more than generous, as it bears all the hallmarks of an organisation seeking to avoid a challenge and thereby holding no election at all.
Worse still by holding the election for GS in 2013 instead of 2015, the year of the UK General Election, Unite are throwing away a golden opportunity. We are told that a reason to bring forward Unite’s election is to avoid any clash with the UK General Election. But that is precisely when we would have maximum influence over the Labour Party.In one misjudged moment we are throwing away the greatest bargaining chip imaginable and the best possible chance to reverse the ‘one way’ relationship with New Labour and instead to negotiate a proper ‘quid pro quo’ agreement.
McCluskey’s plan to reclaim the Labour Party has failed, proof being the recent Rotherham by-election, a Labour safe seat, the candidate chosen was not even a trade union activist let alone Unite’s choice, a Unite member and local workplace senior steward.
Mr McCluskey talks about a co-ordinated fight against the assault on members’ pensions, jobs & conditions and of building a united campaign of resistance, and on that I agree. Yet when presented with an opportunity to do just that, Unite’s leadership chose instead to undermine the PCS and the NUT by not supporting the proposed co-ordinated strike action last March. That was a huge mistake.
For there to be an ‘election’ there has to be more than one candidate.
I have decided to stand in order that members do at least have a chance to vote and to present a positive alternative. However just to get the 50 nominations required to be on the ballot paper will be a big achievement in this most uneven contest.
I have 6 million more reasons to stand. That is the number of £s of members’ money in the last 2 years alone that Unite has handed over to Labour with little or nothing in return. It’s about time that stopped. For Labour to expect support from Unite at the next General Election, Labour must first support Unite’s policies.
Some of what I stand for:
:- Branch restructuring is chaotic but can be remedied: No member will be re-allocated to a Branch without their prior agreement.
:- The election of all officials, elected by members, not appointed by an individual or a panel.
:- Lead a fight to repeal the anti union laws UK & EU and when necessary to confront them.
:- For a General Secretary to live the life of the members they represent, on an average member’s wage not a six figure salary.
:- A Public Works programme, with the first jobs offered to blacklisted construction workers.
:- The creation of one million ‘Green’ jobs. One million potential members.
If you think what’s happening is wrong:
If you, like me, are angry about: If you agree with some, most or the majority of what you have read:
Support my campaign by nominating me at your designated Branch/ Workplace meeting.