GMB General Secretary Election 2015

Keith Henderson (centre)
Keith Henderson has announced that he will be seeking nominations for the General Secretary election of the General Municipal and Boilermakers union (GMB Union) which is scheduled to take place this year according to the current GMB rule book.

Under current rules the nomination process is due to commence after the Central executive committee meeting in April 2015.

Under current union rules it is believed that the General Secretary Paul Kenny will not be able to stand as he has reached retirement age last year
in October.

Under the rules for the last General Secretary election in 2010 candidates were required to be nominated by thirty branches to get onto the ballot paper.

Keith is a member of the Labour Representation Committee (LRC), the Grassroots Left (GRL) and a former regional officer of the GMB London Region.

He was dismissed from his employment of the GMB in December 2012 following his actions in carrying out the wishes of the members. He had organised a picket of parliament on the day of action in the public sector pensions dispute on 30th November 2011.

This followed a democratic decision of the GMB members employed in the house of commons who had voted to take strike action on that day and who had also voted to organise picket lines on the houses of parliament on the day of the strike.

Paul Kenny, the General Secretary contacted Keith directly by phone, shouting at him, claiming that his actions were too left wing and over the top, insisting that Labour MP's be allowed to cross the picket lines. The cases of unfair dismissal and discrimination are still being fought through the legal system so it would not be appropriate to comment further on these issues at this stage.

However the incident highlights the gulf that exists within the British labour movement between genuine unionism and socialism and bureaucratic institutionalism. One a top down structure imposing dictates from above
aimed primarily at maintaining the status quo. The other striving for a union democratically controlled by it's members, recognising that the collective consciousness of the members is the union. That at all times the needs of the members came first.

Keith stands for the election of all union officers who should be accountable to democratically elected bodies of lay members at a national and regional level. For the devolvement of resources from a national and regional level to a workplace and a local level.

To this end Keith is standing on a draft manifesto  which outlines in more detail the mechanics of reintroducing democracy, accountability and devolution of power in the GMB.

You can also read Keith's Election address.