Saturday, 2 February 2013

There WILL be a contested election for UNITE General Secretary

Yesterday Jerry Hicks received confirmation from Electoral Reform that he had 56 valid nominations - enough to get on the ballot paper and give 1.5 million UNITE members a chance to vote - a real election rather than a coronation.

There are still two weeks left for more nomination meetings (which must be held by 15 February 2013), so keep them coming in.  I explained why and how to nominate in a previous post.

The election gives an opportunity to put to all UNITE's members arguments for a more serious fightback - turning fine words into real action, for a more robust relationship with Labour, and for greater accountability of officers to the members they represent.

Jerry's press release responding to the PCS NEC's decision to ballot their members for action in March shows clearly how his election campaign can help increase the pressure for action against cuts and austerity.

Whatever the eventual result of the election (and this snap election remains tilted towards Len McCluskey), the bigger the campaign and vote for Jerry, the more UNITE's leadership (whoever that is) will take on parts of Jerry's agenda and the more UNITE's membership will feel confident to keep pushing for it.  This effect will be felt far beyond UNITE too - in other unions General Secretaries and activists alike will be watching the size of the left challenge to a left General Secretary and it is bound to affect their confidence and trajectory too - all helping to build the fightback.

If you are holding a nomination meeting, don't forget to take a collection for Jerry's campaign.  He's been blacklisted and out of work since being sacked for union activities, and is up against someone on a six-figure salary.  No union funds can be used for the campaign.  If you're leafleting etc outside workplaces, don't forget to take along UNITE membership forms to recruit any non-members you meet.

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