Saturday, 12 January 2013

Why and how to nominate for UNITE General Secretary

Why nominate?

1. Candidates need at least 50 nominations to appear on the ballot paper
2. Nominations are a good way of involving members in a discussion about the future direction of the union and increasing the turnout in the election
3. Details of nominations will be printed with the ballot paper and on the union web site, so the more nominations the more credible a candidate will seem to voters
4. Members in a workplace or branch are likely to be influenced when voting by a nomination from their own branch or workplace

So the more nominations the better!

Who can nominate, when and how?

Every branch can make one nomination. So can every workplace unless they are in a branch just for that workplace (which would be double counting nominations).  There are strict rules for the election, so make sure you follow them carefully. Here’s how:

1) Get your nomination paperwork

Branch secretaries should have received nomination papers by post. Workplace Reps need to request nomination papers from their Region.  Details of who to contact are included in the letter to reps.

Only Workplace Reps registered on the union database will be able to obtain nomination forms.

2) Call your nomination meeting

Your nomination meeting must be held in the period 1 January to 15 February 2013 and must be open to all members in the branch or workplace.

If your branch meeting details are held on the central register on the union web site (log onto to check this) and you do it at the normal time and place then the rules say you don’t need to specially notify members of the nomination meeting. However, it is good practice to make sure members know that the meeting will be discussing this, so everyone has the opportunity to come along and have their say.

For all other nominating meetings (workplace meetings, branch meetings not on the register, changed branch meetings), then you must give at least seven days notice to members using the notice in appendix 1 of the guidelines.  Keep a copy of the notice of the meeting.

3) In your nomination meeting

The person chairing the meeting should not be the same person as the secretary in the case of a branch meeting, or the same person as the Workplace Representative convening the meeting in the case of a workplace.

Only members entitled to vote (i.e. who were members by 31st January 2013)  may participate in the nomination process.

Make sure you take a note of the number of members in attendance, as you will need this for the nomination form. The quorum (minimum number of attendees) for a branch meeting is 5.

As no union resources can be used to support candidates’ campaigns, it’s a good idea to organise a collection amongst the members at the nomination meeting. For more details, see the “campaigning” section below.

4) Filling in the nomination form

You need to include the following information on a branch nomination form:

  • The nominee’s name: Mr J R Hicks

  • The nominee’s membership number: 31247909

  • The date of the branch meeting at which the nomination was made

  • The Branch Chair’s name and signature

  • The Branch Chair’s membership number

  • The Branch Secretary's name and signature

  • The Branch Secretary's membership number

  • The numbers of members in attendance
You need to include the following information on a workplace nomination form:
  • The nominee’s name: Mr J R Hicks

  • The nominee’s membership number: 31247909

  • The date of the workplace meeting at which the nomination was made

  • The workplace Rep’s name and signature

  • The workplace Rep’s membership number

  • The name and signature of the person who chaired the workplace meeting

  • The membership number of the person who chaired the workplace meeting

  • The number of members in attendance
The forms also ask for the nominee branch name and/or number: Bristol Area Community Branch SW/ 001500

In order that your nominee can contact you after nomination, it is important to complete the “Data Protection Authority Permission” section of the form.

5) Send off your nomination

Double-check that the nomination form is properly filled in. If you issued a special notice of the nominating meeting (see 2 above), then keep it in a safe place.

Keep a photocopy of all the nomination paperwork, in case of complaints later.

An pre-paid addressed envelope should be provided with your nomination form. Use it.

Your nomination must be received by the Returning Officer by 12:00 on 22nd February 2013.

The Returning Officer will acknowledge all nominations, so if you haven’t heard from him after a reasonable time, get in touch to check what’s happened: Simon Hearn, Returning Officer, Electoral Reform Services, The Election Centre, 33 Clarendon Road, London, N8 0NW. Alternatively you can contact him by email ( If you still have problems, please let Jerry know too (


Jerry posts information on his web site: and on his Twitter: @JerryHicksUnite. Contact Jerry on 07817 827 912 or for leaflets etc.

Union resources (including membership records) cannot be used for campaigning. The distribution of campaign material in the workplace or on notice-boards is allowed.

Nobody should directly mail, e-mail, telephone, text, or use any other forms of communication to contact members at home in connection with the election, unless the members have themselves signed up to receive such communications from a candidate’s campaign.

Donations are only allowed from individuals. Send donations, payable to “JerryHicks4GS” to Jerry Hicks, 10 York Road, Montpelier, Bristol, BS6 5QE.  There's a collection sheet here and a leaflet here.

If you're leafleting etc outside workplaces, don't forget to take along a few UNITE membership forms for any non-members you meet.

More information

The full rules and guidelines for the election are here.  There's more information about the election on the UNITE web site here and you can read my page about the election here.

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