Monday 21 January 2008

UNITE NEC elections - nominations published

The Amicus section of UNITE has now published the full list of nominations for the 40 "Amicus seats" on the new UNITE NEC. They make interesting reading - if you know what to look for.

From a left point of view, nine candidates backed by Amicus Unity Gazette (the broad left grouping) were unopposed and (subject to confirmation by the Amicus NEC) should be declared elected. Another twenty-six received sufficient nominations to appear on the ballot paper.

While it's nice to have some of the seats almost "in the bag", it is surely no more healthy to have a lot of uncontested elections for a union's National Executive than it is to have uncontested elections for reps and stewards within the workplace. It is a sign of health in a trade union to have vigorous debate and controversy - as long as people work together as well.

It's not easy to compare the numbers of nominations with the last NEC election in 2003, as UNIFI and GPMU have joined since, there are 40 Amicus seats instead of 48 and the distribution has changed. Perhaps the best barometer is to look at the four women's seats.

In 2003 there were 1719 branch nominations shared between 13 candidates for the four women's seats.

In 2008 there are 510 branch nominations shared between 9 candidates for the four women's seats.

There is one candidate (Jane Stewart, from my own region) who stood both times. In 2003 she received 212 branch nominations. This time 109, despite being an "incumbent" NEC member.

I don't believe that this decline can be accounted for simply by branch mergers, and it shows the need to revitalise our branches and other lay member structures.

For the EEE&IT sector, it's clear that nobody else even tried to stand (presumably they could at least have nominated themselves!) and apparently I received nominations from reps in 11 workplaces, compared to 14 in 2003 (when there were also 5 other candidates). Bearing in mind that the sector was new in 2003 so reps didn't know each other yet, this is a pretty shocking decline.

It is vital that as many reps and stewards as possible attend their Regional Sector Conferences over the next few weeks and make the structures work effectively for the members.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think your comments regarding women's nominations are extremely pertinent. I am now a member of Unite via various union mergers and have grave concerns over the opportunities that mergers present for women. How can a union be democratic if it is not representative of it's membership?
Don't get me started on paid officers!!