Re-elect Len Mccluskey

re-elect Len McCluskey
Since Len swept to power in our last election we have seen Unite proudly standing shoulder to shoulder with our members; leading the fightback against attacks on members pay, pensions and conditions as well as government austerity and vicious attacks on our communities.

Unite under Len’s leadership is now the progressive left voice for working people in the British and Irish labour movement and your voice is being heard loud and clear in the TUC, Labour Party and Government.

Len stood last time on a programme to ensure Unite fulfilled its full potential as:

a democratic union: with members in charge and authority pushed out to the industrial sectors, branches, workplaces and regions.
a fighting union: that stands up for Unite members at work and in the community whenever needed.
a tolerant and inclusive union: which welcomes diversity of opinions and in which fear plays no part.
a progressive union: campaigning for the interests of working people wherever decisions are made at home and around the world.
a united union: working for equality for all its members at work, in the community and in Unite itself.
a union working for YOU: with offices and employees focussed on delivering for our members.
an organising union: reaching out to the millions who need trade union protection.
It is clear that our union is already well on track to delivering its potential!

Under Len’s leadership and supported by a progressive left Executive Council:

we are not only standing shoulder to shoulder with our members but are leading the call in the TUC for a more aggressive collective response to austerity, including backing the call for coordinated industrial and community actions.
our branch restructuring is putting real power where it should be, in the hands of our members at their place of work and in the industrial sector committees that represent them. While this is taking longer than envisaged and we have to be sensitive in handling long established Branches, the principle is right and we will address any issues that arise in the appeal process.
our community organising, 100% and sector organising initiatives are giving a home and a voice to the non-waged inside Unite while building our industrial strength, confidence and bargaining power in workplaces across the union.
our political strategy is starting to put our values back into the Labour Party and our members also to ensure policy and actions on the ground reflect our priorities.
However, despite good progress we have a long way to go and Len is now standing for a second term to ensure we complete our journey.

76 comments on “Re-elect Len Mccluskey

  1. I think Len McCluskey has done a great job of revitalising probably the most important trade union in Britain. He commitment to backing workers in struggle marks a break from previous leaders of UNITE / T+G. I’m sure that this thread will soon become littered with accusations that Len is a b’crat and Jerry Hicks is an egotist. I would say they are both admirable trade unionists, and that both are worthy of support. Personally, I would vote Len if I were a member, but can understand that others will vote Jerry, because of his excellent role in the sparks dispute (along with many others). It would be excellent if supporters of both avoid retreading old insults, and focus instread on their candidates postive achievements and qualities.

  2. Jota: It would be excellent if supporters of both avoid retreading old insults, and focus instread on their candidates postive achievements and qualities.

    Agreed, and that’s exactly what’s being done here!

  3. “Agreed
    It would be excellent if supporters of both avoid retreading old insults, and focus instread on their candidates postive achievements and qualities.”

    Yes these are sentiments genuine trade unionists can all agree with. Quite frankly some of the personalised insults in previous debates on this have been disgraceful, did not reflect debates within the union and the lack of consistent moderation did not reflect well on this site either.

  4. brianthedog on said:

    It would be a nice start if Jerry Hicks finally began to not put out press statements with negative misinformation about Unite/disputes and personal attacks on Len McCluskey.

    Len doesn’t do this and shows the caliber of the man.

  5. I previously posted the press-release below on the last Len McCluskey thread.

    Apologies in advance for copying a large bit of text, I couldn’t find a link to post instead.

    I was emailed this last week and copy it here because it may be of interest and so that Jerry’s case gets an airing.

    I have not (for the benefit of anyone who knows me) decided whether to support Len or Jerry myself (not that my views carry enough weight to influence many people anyway ).

    As some people are aware of my professional backround, I did not wish to be seen as promoting a firm of solicitors so I have removed a bit at the end, and I’m sure Jerry will give the details to anyone interested.

    “Press release: Press release: Press release: Immediate 24/01/2013

    Blacklisted Jerry Hicks candidate for Unite General Secretary speaks out

    Blacklisting of workers is a ‘National scandal’. And the scandal is that it has gone on for so long and not enough was done by those shouting the loudest now.

    Millions of people would be forgiven for thinking that the illegal blacklisting of over 3,000 construction workers has suddenly been discovered. Yet it has been the worst kept secret for over two decades that those who spoke up with concerns for Health and Safety on construction sites or defended wages and conditions were punished and denied employment. Brave people paid a heavy price as each year, each month, each day brought more discrimination – more lives were being wrecked, houses lost to repossession, stress induced ill health, heart attacks and even worse. It was more than 3 years ago in 2009 when the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) raided the offices of the Consultancy Association and found the illegal records of files kept on 3,200 workers. Ian Kerr was fined a paltry £5,000 for storing information contrary to the Data Protection Act. To add insult, the fine was paid not by Mr Kerr but by the employers who had enlisted his services.Then last year before he met with his untimely death Ian Kerr ‘spilled the beans’ when he gave evidence to the Scottish Select Committee.

    Jerry Hicks who is on the illegal blacklist says “there are those that liken this to the ‘phone hacking’ scandal, but I believe this has more similarities to the Jimmy Saville scandal. How many institutions knew or suspected? How many employers outside of the contributors knew? How many MPs suspected or knew? How many union officials suspected or knew and perhaps benefitted? What and how much did the police know?”

    Why the lack of effective action? Why has it been left to the determined struggle of the Blacklisting Support Group along with some very courageous people already on the list to expose the abuses and attempt to redress the wrongs and bring those responsible to book.As a spokesperson for the Information Commissioner’s Office rightly pointed out to today’s outcry from trade union leaders, “Where were the unions 3 years ago?”

    Jerry Hicks, the only challenger in the current election for Unite General Secretary, said “The union had the perfect opportunity to confront blacklisting employers. The Olympics could have, should have been the time and the vehicle to take on and defeat the blacklist, It would have propelled the abuse into the national news. It was an opportunity lost.”

    Back in 2010 Jerry Hicks was among those protesting at the Olympic site over workers failing to find employment there. At the same time trade union leaders at the TUC conference only a mile away made speeches about the need for ‘civil unrest’, yet not one of them came to the protest.

    It would seem that some band standing is going on here. After all who spoke out the loudest or even at all during those long grim years? Labour in office? Unite’s leadership?

    Jerry Hicks pointed out “Two years ago during the last election for the top job in the UK’s biggest Union I was the only one of four candidates that made blacklisting in construction an issue and to promise to redress the wrongs – both in my campaign and election address. Mr McCluskey and Ms Cartmail also candidates chose not to mention it. They obviously had other priorities. Perhaps for them it has only just become a National Scandal.”Now there is another election on for Unite’s General Secretary, it having been called ‘out of the blue’, brought forward 3 years and fast tracked.

    To many it seemed as though it would go uncontested, allowing McCluskey to extend his term of office without actually going to the members. But Jerry Hicks has challenged and is well on his way to securing the 50 branch nominations required to force the ballot of 1.5 million members.

    Jerry Hicks said “There are two candidates, one on the blacklist who has always spoken out and acted against it and one who decides to shout about it now it has hit the headlines. In life everything is about timing. I have my views as to why Mr McCluskey has chosen now, but I leave it to you to draw your own conclusion.”

    He [Jerry Hicks] added “Labour ‘shadow business minister’ Chukka Ummna is now calling for an investigation into allegations that firms involved in major projects, including the Olympics and Crossrail, blacklisted workers. Great! But why wait until in opposition? What did Labour do during its 3 terms and 13 years in government? As every year went by demands for justice went unanswered, while trade unions poured money into their coffers.”Unite’s General Secretary Len McCluskey calls for a “Leveson-style enquiry” which is correct but also an easy demand now that it has already hit the headlines. Why didn’t Unite leadership maximise the opportunities that previously came their way to highlight the abuse.

    Assistant General Secretary Gail Cartmail, who openly supports Len McCluskey in his election campaign, described the 40 or so guilty firms on Radio 5 Live as

    – “an industry in denial, failing even to apologise”. She is right.

    However it’s not just employers Unite officials can be hard on. In 2011 when 8 construction companies gave notice of unilateral withdrawal from a national agreement ‘BESNA’, 500 Unite electricians took matters into their own hands, met, agreed and embarked on a year long campaign of protests and unofficial actions which proved to be a very successful strategy. Official backing did eventually come ‘better late than never’

    . But Unite’s initial response to this campaign beggars belief.

    In an email to Gail Cartmail copied to every Unite construction official and some staff, the National Officer for construction Bernard McAuley began “Good morning Gail, reference to our conversation last night” and went on to spew his bile at those very same members of the union describing them as a ‘cancerous group’, ‘opportunists’, ‘mindless individuals’ and mentioned Jerry Hicks by name.

    When he received this e mail fourth hand, Jerry Hicks challenged this outrageous and libellous diatribe and its wide circulation. No formal apology ever came nor condemnation, and both officials are still responsible for ‘looking after’ construction members. It is easy to see how by design or carelessness names can appear on blacklists.
    Legal action is being taken on behalf of a number of construction workers, who are seeking compensation for having their names on the blacklist. But shamefully this, the only major court case, is a private case brought by the workers themselves and not funded by Unite. It has been left to the good offices of Guney, Clark & Ryan to take legal action on behalf of the construction workersJust as the blacklist was more than just rumoured for years, so was the possible involvement of some union officials in supplying information to the consultancy agency. A Leveson-style enquiry that Len McCluskey now calls for, may embarrassingly prove if union officials were involved, where internal union investigations have failed in the past to find sufficient evidence.

    Jerry Hicks said “In life, chances to really make a difference come and go. The Vestas occupation on the Isle of Wight was one. It was wasted, I believe the best chance to save the Remploy factories would have been protests and occupations during the Para-Olympics but that chance went begging. There will be other chances to fight injustice and the Con-Dem cuts but who will recognise them and act and who will inspire people to believe that big victories are possible.”

    Ends:

    Notes to Editor:
    Unite is the biggest union in the UK with 1.5 million members.
    Unite is currently holding an election for its General Secretary, in which there are only two candidates, Jerry Hicks and Len McCluskey.

    Jerry Hicks was runner up in Unites General Secretary election of 2010 beating two senior national officials and securing 52,527 votes. He can be contacted by mobile 07817827912 or email jerryhicks4gs2010@yahoo.co.ukAnyone who believes they may be affected by the Consulting Association Blacklist should first contact the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) on

    0303 123 1113. …”

  6. Karl Stewart on said:

    I’m not in Unite, but if I was I’d be backing McLuskey.
    If I’d been a Unite member in 209 I’d have supported Hicks, but I think things have changed in the time since and he’s not challenging Simpson in this election.
    So I’m hoping for and expecting a strong McLuskey victory.

    Vanya, genuine point here mate. If you’re part of the Hicks campaign, then you guys need to put out better press releases – that’s more like a long and very boring speech.

    A press release is a “foot in the door” of a news desk – an attempt to grab some media attention, provoke some interest and curiosity – so think short, punchy, interesting, not long, obscure and dull.

  7. I note that the meeting in Liverpool discussing strike action that Len McCluskey was a speaker at was mentioned on BBC North West News.

    There was also reference on the national news and footage of the demo today in Lewisham in support of the hospital campaign.

    Nearer to home (for me anyway) there was a well attendend local demo opposing the closure of the baths in Levenshulme (Manchester) which also focused on the proposal to close the local library, both of which are part of a package of cuts planned by the Council. Not without problems for the Labour Party, as several of their councillors are promising to vote against (in part at least).

  8. Karl Stewart: Vanya, genuine point here mate. If you’re part of the Hicks campaign…

    Karl mate, you really need to read a bit more carefully- have another look at my 4th paragraph.

  9. BombasticSpastic on said:

    It was wasted, I believe the best chance to save the Remploy factories would have been protests and occupations during the Para-Olympics but that chance went begging.

    Remploy workers and their supporters did protest during the Olympics. These took place in and around parliament as well as government departments and the HQ of DRUK.

    Remploy workers also went out on strike several times during the Olympics.

    As for occupations, I first mooted this form of protest at Branch meetings six years ago, shortly after the announcement of the first tranche of closures. Sadly, neither the factory Shop Stewards or, me, the Branch Secretary of the then T&G’s London Remploy factories, could get enough support for a lock-in.

    Similarly, the mood was not there for occupation last summer.

    Just as people are asking posters to desist from personality politics on this thread; may I make a request that contributors don’t tell blatant lies in order to promote their cause.

  10. brianthedog on said:

    The Hicks press release that Vanya continually posts on here, (but also doth protest too much that he is not supporting Mr Hicks) is useful in showing us the blatant misinformation and opportunism of this thrice time candidate.

    Bomba who was involved in Remploy (and not Hicks) has already exposed the lies and negative comments by Hicks around this dispute. I was also present at a strike in the summer were Unite and GMB members blocked the road and stopped a truck making a delivery crossing the picket line.

    Regarding the construction workers dispute once again this man who isn’t a construction worker (or indeed a worker) but a bare faced opportunist gets elected on to a rank and file committee for what is seen by many as a bit of electioneering (posts used to be on his jerry4gs site) and again his statements are full of negative misinformation.

    There were lots of brave activists who were demostrating outside construction companies and although this was important in the early days it was not moving the companies or particularly getting the workers inside the sites to organise. I also believe Andy Newman commented about this last year.

    Len McCluskey asked Gail Cartmel to assist in the campaign and also the national organising dept to get involved and release lots of resources.

    As far as i am aware Gail was extremely supportive and popular with the rank and file construction workers and the organising department put together a comprehensive leverage campaign that targeted the companies and led to them backing down.

    Why doesn’t Hicks mention any of this????

    Its also interesting that one of the leading rank and file workers who was a leading supporter of Hicks has distanced himself from him over his involvement in the dispute. I believe that this person is also a member of Socialist Appeal who were one of his most vocal supporters in the previous election but have now stated that Hicks standing against Len McCluskey is a mistake and are supporting Len.

    Finally the Jimmy Saville comment is just down right weird!

  11. brianthedog: but also doth protest too much that he is not supporting Mr Hicks

    Brian’s and BS’s comments are interesting.

    I reiterate, I have not decided whether to support Jerry Hicks or Len McCluskey, and I don’t quite understand what motive I would have for saying that if I had.

    My view is that there have been a lot of positive developments since the last GS election, so I can understand why some who supported Jerry may now feel that his challenge is unnecessary.

    I have posted this in the interests of a debate on here on the basis of what Jerry Hicks’ campaign was actually saying.

    As for which left groups are supporting who, if it was going to influence me one way or the other, the fact that Len McCluskey has the support of the AWL would guarantee 100% that I would not be supporting him.

    The Saville comment I think is quite a good analogy.

  12. In 2011 during the Southampton City Council dispute Jerry Hicks was absent. He didnt turn up to a single picket line or mass meeting. Interestingly a comment was made recently to say the reason he didnt turn up was because he wasnt invited!!

    Why should he be?

    Rob Williams from the NSSN wasnt invited yet he turned up and addressed pickets. Maybe that was because he had a bit of credibility, I dont know!

    Today I was told by an SWPer why didnt SCC workers invite him? Why should they have done that? Already Len McCluskey gave his total support to the strike and assured workers that every resource from the union would be given to the struggle.

    Jerry was completely silent!!

    Those on the left arguing against supporting Len seem to be in a weird alternative universe. The Union since Len took the GS is a million miles from where it was. It needs more time because two years, even 5 years needs to be extended to achieve what a General Union needs to be.

    Unfortunately Hicks/GRL supporters dont understand this and are unfortunatley becoming so individualistic in their approach that any form of collective position they aspire to is lost in the mist of their narcissistic behaviour .

  13. brianthedog on said:

    More of Hicks negative campaigning …….

    What Hicks stands for: “No member will be re-allocated to a Branch without their prior agreement.”

    Ian you are right about Hicks being lost in a mist of narcissistic behaviour.

    When you either know something about branch restructuring or look into it a bit more you find out that as usual Hicks is playing a deeply reactionary, populist and ultimately right wing game. His statement if implemented would also be deeply damaging for members interests and would also be unworkable.

    But never mind, because if you want to play the game of negative campaigning it might win you some votes.

    Branch restructuring was called for by Unite’s executive council which for those who don’t know is made up of elected LAY MEMBERS. The executive is the highest democractic body in Unite and members have a right to appeal a branch restructure.

    Why restruture branches? Because for too many years there have been too many moribund branches, too many ‘rotten borough’ branches, too many branches where in a inactive branch, a secretary was getting a very nice second income or topping up their pensions on members money, too many composite branches that had no links to workplaces, too many branches in the same workplace that were split along ex union lines or ex companies that had no longer existed or had merged.

    The idea was and is where possible to make workplace branches, that are active and support members in their workplace. It also helps given the anti trade union laws if you know where your members are if you want to ballot for industrial action.

    This much needed change has obviously upset some people’s narrow, self serving and vested interests.

    What Hicks does is cynically tap into this and declares that if you individually don’t want branch re-allocation you don’t have to have it.

    Why?

    So you can stay in a moribund branch, keep collecting members money for your own back pocket or have no links what so ever to a workplace or your workplace?

    It doesn’t make sense (and i don’t think Hicks is that stupid) but I think Hick’s knows this, he just doesn’t care that he is treating people like fools just for a few more branch nominations and for a few more votes.

  14. BombasticSpastic on said:

    Vanya, my comments are supported by first hand experience. The cut and paste piece you posted referenced Remploy; and the reference was based on third hand information, as Hicks was not involved in any of the Remploy actions personally.

    Vanya, may I suggest you check out what you post to this site; as we all have a responsibility to post accurately and honestly.

  15. BombasticSpastic: Vanya, may I suggest you check out what you post to this site; as we all have a responsibility to post accurately and honestly.

    You can suggest what you want.

    If what I quoted was open to being challenged I was more than confident that it would be.

  16. BombasticSpastic on said:

    Vanya: You can suggest what you want.

    If what I quoted was open to being challenged I was more than confident that it would be.

    Yet another lazy answer, Vanya. You remind me of the Sun and Daily Heil in the way they run anti-disability stories merely by cutting and pasting information straight from press releases obtained from the DWP.

    Don’t you have a view of your own; or is life easier hiding behind the opinions of others?

  17. BombasticSpastic: You remind me of the Sun and Daily Heil in the way they run anti-disability stories merely by cutting and pasting information straight from press releases obtained from the DWP.

    An utterly odious and idiotic comparison.

    BombasticSpastic: Don’t you have a view of your own…?

    No. I made that clear.

    BombasticSpastic: or is life easier hiding behind the opinions of others?

    That’s utterly meaningless. What am I hiding?

  18. BombasticSpastic on said:

    Complain away, Vanya. I stand by my comparison. You cut and paste onto here without first checking your source/s. Which is exactly the methods used by the Scum and Heil.

    If you have no view of your own, why copy and paste uncorroborated articles on here?

    Vanya, you are hiding your ignorance of Remploy issues.

  19. #18

    And I stand by my response that it’s odious and idiotic.

    I explained why I posted the press release.

    I suggest that you take the contents up with Jerry Hicks.

    His response would be interesting.

    If what he has said doesn’t stand up to critical examination then that weakens his case.

    If you object to it being on the blog, take it up with the admin.

  20. Morning Star reader on said:

    If the contents of that Jerry Hicks press release are anything to go by, him winning the election would plunge the union into a bitter civil war.
    I cannot believe that someone who seriously wants to run Britain’s biggest union has put out a statement to the anti-union, capitalist media attacking other officials in those terms. He should state where he stands on the issues, not take out a pile of dirty washing and rubbish our union in this way.
    When Amicus, the ETU and AUEW were controlled by anti-democratic gangsters, there may have been little alternative. But Hicks is now in a democratic left-led union. You would never think so, reading this nasty, personal, whingeing tripe.

  21. brianthedog on said:

    #20 Very well put Morning Star reader and i would add that the dirty washing is solely created by Hicks grimey narcassistic mind – the claims and attacks are just not true.

    The man reminds me of the way the US republican party and also its tea party friends operate by continually using dirty tricks, smears and big lies in the hope they stick.

    Len McCuskey has brought about change (much needed and sometimes difficult change) in a progressive and radical manner and in a way that brings most people together. The man has a decency, flair and honesty. Hick’s is the opposite to this and will indeed as MS reader stated bring about a destructive bitter civil war with in Unite.

  22. BombasticSpastic on said:

    Vanya, you posted the Hicks press statement twice, on two separate threads. The point of a blog is not for individuals to post random writings and when said pieces are challenged hide behind the fact they are press statements.

    What was the point in you posting the statement twice? You post then refuse to properly engage in the subject you’ve posted; you aren’t able to substantiate the content of what you offer up.

    Members of the scum press use exactly your argument. They cry, when accused of demonising disabled people, of only printing what the DWP tells them. We argue this is lazy journalism and they should be out investigating these reports for themselves.

    You post press statements by others; you don’t check the validity of the content; and when others take you to task on your postings, you hide behind the author.

    Vanya, instead of you telling me to take up the contents with Hicks, why don’t you do some research for yourself – I’ve done mine!

  23. Thanks to Vanya for posting the Jerry Hicks statement I’d been trying to work out what Jerry thought he was attempting to achieve by running for GS of Unite again and this does make it clearer – although sadly not more credible.

    I genuinely think Jerry has a lot to offer the union and the wider movement but this kind of divisive and, frankly, unfair criticism of Len M is not at all helpful.

    There are things the union clearly needs to achieve. More members, better implantation in the private sector, stronger work among migrant workers and a more effective strategy for building a confident membership, developing new activists and networks as well as ways of winning demands in what is a very difficult period for trade unionists.

    Jerry doesn’t seem very concerned about that and Len does. In fact while Len has pursued a strategy designed to build the rank and file strength of the union (I think) Jerry seems more interested in simply building his own profile. I think that’s a shame and I hope he rethinks his strategy, even if he’s unwilling to rethink standing for GS.

    It’s not necessary to attack Len in this way to put forward a positive vision for the union – and seeing as Jerry doesn’t have a hope in hell of winning surely the key thing he should be trying to win in this election is influence for his ideas and for the union to adopt some of his proposals. For that he actually needs to have some worth adopting.

  24. #23 Thanks for that Jim.

    I have been considering the improvements that have taken place within the Union since the last GS elections for some time, and have been coming to the conclusion that a challenge from the left is unwarranted.

    I have a great deal of respect for Jerry and supported him for GS last time.

    And the hysterical reaction to someone daring to quote, even without endorsing, a press release from Jerry’s campaign from the usual suspects on here is in keeping with their sense of entitlement and dubious approach to democracy, as well as in one case again demonstrating a worrying attitude to unemployed members.

    Nevertheless, I will be voting for McCluskey this time unless someone provides a very good reason not to.

  25. brianthedog on said:

    Saying someone does not work, when they haven’t done so for approx 8 years is a fact. I am not sure how this in any way demonstrates a worrying attitude to the unemployed or unemployed members.

    The clue is in the title …. ‘Trade Union’…. which fundamental existence is to collectively organise and regulate workers terms and conditions.

    If you don’t work, are not in any way a representative of any workplace its pretty difficult to see how you can understand how to manage and lead a workplace/organisation let alone the UK’s biggest trade union.

    Hicks press releases help show how out of touch and how bitter, negative, opportunist and reactionary he is.

    Many thanks Vanya for posting and exposing this.

  26. brianthedog on said:

    Another interesting point in Jerry Hicks press release is the very recent ‘news’ that Hicks is a blacklisted candidate and its inference is that he was blacklisted as part of the consultancy association scandal.

    Its the first time I have heard this and its only began to appear since Mr Hicks has declared he is going to stand against Len McCluskey for Unite’s General Secretary election.

    Is it only me who finds this odd as i have always been led to believe that this illegal and covert organisation was backed and financed by the big construction companies. I was also led to believe that its purpose was to blacklist construction workers who dared organise trade unions on their sites and also defend H&S issues.

    As far as i know Mr Hicks was a ‘white collar’ worker at Rolls Royce and has never been a construction worker. I know he was dismissed by the company and I believe agreed to a six figure out of court settlement. He hasn’t worked since and appears to have spent the last 8 years, full time trying and failiing to become a trade union general secretary.

    I would be shocked if it was the case that he was blacklisted and blacklisted as part of the construction industry consultancy assosiation. However this being put about by Mr Hicks and the SWP who I must admit I have a problem with (given their past history) taking most things they both say at face value.

    Can anyone evidence this claim?

  27. BombasticSpastic on said:

    Vanya:
    #23 Thanks for that Jim.

    And the hysterical reaction to someone daring to quote, even without endorsing, a press release from Jerry’s campaign from the usual suspects on here is in keeping with their sense of entitlement and dubious approach to democracy…

    Vanya, you’re a liar; and more, a coward who hides behind the words of others. Indeed, who uses the words of others to elicit reaction.

    If Hicks wants to come on here himself and debate, let him do so. Stop stirring the shit, and posting statements you can’t back up.

  28. Manzil on said:

    #24 Vanya, sharing the Hicks press release was much appreciated, albeit for the same reasons as #23 (and with much the same conclusion as yourself). Wouldn’t have seen it otherwise. Cheers.

    Also, where did you learn this wonderful ability to effortlessly stir up strangers online, like throwing carcasses into a piranha tank, with innocuous bits of info? Most impressive.

  29. BombasticSpastic on said:

    Vanya, serial postings are usually the sign of desperation. You had already posted Hick’s press release on another thread; unsatisfied with that you decided to re-post. You obviously didn’t excite enough interest the first time around, so you needed to peddle the thing around.

    Vanya, at least I have the ability to learn. Your postings here present you as a sheep, a cipher. Unable to form views of your own you resort to posting those of others without first checking the veracity of their words.

    Baa, baa, baa….

  30. Morning Star reader on said:

    I am also grateful to Vanya for sharing the Hicks press release, and my hostile reaction was to the content of the statement, not to Vanya for posting it.
    The statement does highlight Jerry’s unsuitability for the GS position, but that is not to question his right to stand or to set out his standpoint. I just think he has gone about about everything in a really bad way. That’s a shame, because he was a good representative of his members in Bristol.
    But in the best interests of his (and my) union, I hope he drops this utterly negative, divisive and (dare I say) egotistical approach to raising serious issues.

  31. Karl Stewart on said:

    As I said earlier, if I was a Unite member I’d be supporting McLuskey.

    But the attacks on Hicks from BTD and BS almost seem to be saying “how dare he stand” which is a bit hysterical frankly.

    Hicks has an exemplary previous record as a senior shop steward at Bristol Rolls-Royce aero-engines and my understanding was he was an engine test fitter – a skilled job, but not “white-collar”.

    He was victimised by the company for his union activity and of course he isn’t above criticism, but he does deserve respect.

  32. brianthedog on said:

    #35 Yes Karl you are right i ‘almost’ as in not any way am I saying ‘how he dare he stand’ so thanks for pointing that out.

    As to respect, its is earned and not just given and what i have seen of Mr Hicks behaviour he doesn’t derserve it.

    So we have clarified that he worked at Bristol Rolls Royce areo engines at a engine test fitter and has is not a construction worker. I also believe he agreed to a six figure out of court settlement with his former employer.

    So why now 8 years later is he stating he is blacklisted and by inference blacklisted as part of the construction industry illegal consultancy association.

    Its all rather odd and I would like to see some evidence of this.

    If true its shocking and if not Walter Mitty comes to mind.

  33. #38 This has become complicated as you have apologised but I’m not sure what for.

    However I would rather be likened to a clown than to a gutter journalist who attacks the disabled or called a liar and a coward, particularly by someone who is an officer of the union of which I am a rank and file member.

    Strangely enough.

  34. John Fisher on said:

    I knew Jerry Hicks before the strike over his dismissal and got to know him during and after the strike. He was dismissed because he led an unofficial walk-out following two workers who it was alleged had been sleeping on the nightshift. They were re-instated but a few weeks later the company sacked him, one of the charges being that he had led the test shop members out on unofficial strike. There followed a strike which I think lasted five weeks I am not sure whether it was ever official, but I don`t think so. Simpson who we all now know about was of course the broad left candidate when he became GS of Amicus and Jerry campaigned tirelessly for him securing the largest percentage vote of any region in the country. Notwithstanding this Simpson never once came near the strike. Attempts at securing solidarity particularly amongst Rolls Royce plants was diifficult, partly due to the fact that the Rolls Royce site accross the road from Jerry`s plant never even held a mass meeting, despite having two NEC members. (I could go into all the mirky reasons for this, none of which reflect badly on Jerry, but that would be gossip.) Yes Jerry did accept a sum which I think was around £100k, but I can assure you that he was in effect forced to accept it not because the union heirarchy advised him, although thay did, but because the members had been out for five weeks and the prospect of defeating the company seemed very unlikely. Jerry had worked there for over thirty years and had a very strong bond with his fellow workers. For anybody`s information he put the majority of this into his RR pension knowing that it was very unlikely that he would ever secure a job in the South West and yes he was certainly blacklisted.
    Turning to Len McClusky and just for the record I believe he was a clerical worker, I have no problem with that, but someone described Jerry as white collar worker inferring ?, that has been corrected. I now want to pose something for all the supporters of Len. As you will know he became a local full time official and then progressed to becoming a national official and then an Assistant General Secretary. I was not in the T&GWU, but I was appointed as an ASTMS official in 1970, for the record Clive Jenkins attempted to sack me on two occasions without success. The only reason I mention this is to let anyone know that I am well versed in the politics of trade unionism. To return to Len how many compromises did he have to make by the time he became AGS? Unless he was unique he must have made a few. Contrast this with Serwotka who was directly elected from the workplace and in my view is the best GS I have seen in my time. Len also promised to hold the Labour leadership to account, possibly, but just an opinion, because a major part of Jerry`s campaign last time was on pressurising the LP leadership by witholding UNITE`s funds to the LP. What have we 2+ years down the road Milliband repudiates strikes in the public sector and what happens Len encourages the officials and presumably activists to join the Labour Party to secure a labour victory in 2015, no threat to withdrawing funding!!! I could write more about the chaos of branch reorganisation, the lack of intervention in the pension disputes, the lack of action on anti-trade union law etc. All I know is Jerry Hicks would do what he says he will do and his leadership would not mean waiting another two years for a Labour victory/coalition by which time who knows the appalling state of affairs that faces workers, pensioners, unemployed, NHS etc.etc. If I have stated anything which you believe to be factually incorrect I apologise, my memory is not faultless by any means. You will note I have not insulted any other bloggers despite their various spiteful remarks and I would request similar courtesy, but if you do feel inclined please note that I have in the past been insulted by professionals! P.S. Why do people not use their proper names at least then I might know where they`re coming from, after all you`re not likely to be sacked for slagging off Jerry Hicks.P.P.S Jim (Jepps) hi, you`ve obviously been learning a lot about unions since we last met!!

  35. BombasticSpastic on said:

    Vanya:
    #38 This has become complicated as you have apologised but I’m not sure what for.

    However I would rather be likened to a clown than to a gutter journalist who attacks the disabled or called a liar and a coward,particularly by someone who is an officer of the union of which I am a rank and file member.

    Strangely enough.

    Officer of the union? Not me guv. Rank and file member, like yourself. A member who is pissed off by spectators criticising industrial issues (Hicks and Remploy in this case) about which they know nothing.

  36. Manzil on said:

    Incidentally, what would it matter if Jerry Hicks was a white collar worker?

    #prolierthanthou

  37. BombasticSpastic on said:

    Wouldn’t it be grey collar today? As a direct payments adviser I fall into the taupe collar grade of workers…

  38. This discussion would be immensely more enervating if it were to focus on any substantive policy issues that divide the candidates and if it were to include some consideration of the likely course of action the union would follow on the election of either of these candidates.
    And for those of us interested in outcomes what role right wing forces in the union play in this election.

  39. George Hallam on said:

    Nick Wright: This discussion would be immensely more enervating if it were to focus on any substantive policy issues..

    I think that you might mean either “less enervating” or “more invigorating”.

  40. Nick Wright: And for those of us interested in outcomes what role right wing forces in the union play in this election.

    That is for me the very interesting question, if there is a contest, then Hicks will be the only challenger, then that contest will not reflect the real political disagreements or real forces in the union.

    It is not implausible that the right wing, seeking to destabilie McCluskey, might tacitly support Hicks, or latch onto some of the more populaist pronouncements of the Hicks campaign.

  41. o#40 Yes, I’ve noticed that several of the attacks on Jerry have related to the payment he received from Rolls Royce. It makes me wonder whether it’s considered to be a principle that victimised workers should refuse compensation from employers.

    If so, I’d be interested in an explanation.
    Is it union policy? That of the United Left?

    I would also be interested to know whether anyone intends to propose that unemployed members should be barred from running for office.

    As fr whether Jerry Hicks’ assertion that he is on the blacklist is correct, I agree that it would be wrong for him to make it if not true, But for his employment status to be used against him when he lost his last job in the circumstances he did is apalling.

    And that goes whoever is the better candidate and whatever the rights and wrongs of that press release.

  42. Vanya: I would also be interested to know whether anyone intends to propose that unemployed members should be barred from running for office.

    I think the issue here is the degree of current engagement that a candidate has with the union.

    In GMB, for example, a GS candidate needs to persuade the (100% lay member) CEC of her/his suitability for the job before they appear on the ballot paper, which would exclude an unemployed lay member, except in perhaps the most exceptional circumstances.

    I think it is clear that a Jerry Hicks victory at this stage (and I say this as someone who has known Jerry for some years, and personally I like him, outsdie of union politics) would be disastrous, in plunging the union into civil war, and destablising the progress made over the last few years)

  43. George Hallam: I think that you might mean either “less enervating” or “more invigorating”.

    Correct George, as ever.
    Put it down to my training as an art historian – and adherence to the modernist dictum ‘less is more’

  44. BombasticSpastic on said:

    Andy Newman: That is for me the very interesting question, if there is a contest, then Hicks will be the only challenger, then that contest will not reflect the real political disagreements or real forces in the union.

    It is not implausible that the right wing, seeking to destabilie McCluskey, might tacitly support Hicks, or latch onto some of the more populaist pronouncements of the Hicks campaign.

    Speaking to United Left activists around the country some branches, identified with the right within Unite, have nominated Jerry Hicks; similarly disaffected branch secretaries (of large amorphous branches that have been restructured along industrial lines) are nominating Hicks.

  45. Will Thorne on said:

    BombasticSpastic: some branches, identified with the right within Unite, have nominated Jerry Hicks; similarly disaffected branch secretaries (of large amorphous branches that have been restructured along industrial lines) are nominating Hicks.

    The defeat of Andy Gilchrist by an unholy alliance of the ultra-left and the right is a relatively recent precedent – leading to the FBU having perhaps the most ineffective General Secretary possible. not only due to his intrinsic numptyness, but also that he plays to the ultra-left gallery, while actually being in the pocket of the right.

  46. brianthedog on said:

    #48 Thanks Andy for bringing sense back into the debate around some of the points made.

    I find it strange the depths some will go to try to twist what is actually said.

    For the point of clarity I have no problem with a member accepting an out of court settlement from their employer. In Mr Hicks case a six figure sum is a huge amount of money and good luck I say. Unite or the United Left would have no policy on it what so ever.

    I don’t think its necessary to bar unemployed members standing for GS. I just think someone who has not worked for 8 years and has not worked since before Unite was created has the industrial skills, knowledge or is suitable to run the UK’s biggest union.

    I find it odd that after all these years that Mr Hicks is now saying he is blacklisted. His press release, to me, appears to give the inference that he is part of the consultancy association, construction workers blacklisting scandal. It also looks like he is piggy backing on it. I also believe Mr Hicks has stated that he is going to court over this issue.

    All i have asked is evidence about this (for example like the blacklisted construction workers have done)and unfortunately John Fishers statement does not suffice.

    Like many on here I think Mr Hicks would be a divisive GS and create a civil war and a blood bath. This is something that Unite does not need and this has not happened under Len McCluskey’s leadership.

    I have personally come across a branch which has had the proposal to create a workplace branch with a company they have merged over 5 years ago. This other company was an ex amicus workplace. They have appealed against this decision and also stated they are going to nominate Hicks following his cynical statement that no member will be moved from a branch if they don’t want to. This situation is reactionary whether you call it ultra left or right wing.

    I have also been told by a senior person in Unite who i personally trust that the right wing is supporting Hicks. I didnt go into details at the time of the conversation so can’t corroborate it. However Will Thorne’s FBU comparsion is spot on and a warning to all.

  47. Andy Gilchrist lost because he had lost the confidence of many members over the handling of the national strike. Len has not lost the confidence of his members. The comparison is not strong.

  48. Plus is the evidence of Matt wrack being weak and ineffectual limited to the FBU not taking part in the 1-day strike last year? Because with hindsight I am not completely sure that we achieved anything there but a loss of a days pay.

  49. #52 If you don’t have a problem with the payment why mention it then? On more than one occasion.

  50. brianthedog on said:

    #55 Vanya you have an unending ability to get the sh*ty end of the stick. With all due respect please try to actually read what I have said and if at all possible its meaning. You are after all supposedly a solicitor.

    If you wish to be useful could you advise the Socialist Unity blog how best to get some evidence and find out about Mr Hicks belated claims that he has been blacklisted, by whom (is it by the construction companies?) and where Mr Hicks has lodged his court case?

  51. brianthedog: If you wish to be useful could you advise the Socialist Unity blog how best to get some evidence and find out about Mr Hicks belated claims that he has been blacklisted, by whom (is it by the construction companies?) and where Mr Hicks has lodged his court case?

    Dear brianthedog
    Of course Jerry Hicks has been ‘blacklisted’ not on the Droitwich based Consultancy list primarily complined for the contruction industry but on so other list… Since the offical demise of the Economic League in the early 1990’s the ‘Blacklisting’ business has been through its own process of spliting into smaller sectoral concerns… also Any labour movement activist who gains any sort of media profile is simply made unemployable as it is fairly common HR practice to simple type a candidates name into Google and see if anything comes up… If anything comes up they don’t like then you dont get to the interview stage let alone a job offer.
    It does no service to Len McCluskey’s campaign for re=election for his supporters to denigrate or tar Jerry Hicks record in the Labour Movement.
    Asking when Jerry is going to lodge his court case is an infantile jibe.
    Personally, I am impressed with Len McCluskey’s work over the past year and as a community member of unite I hope branch reorganisation continues apace… as currently there are no functioning structures for me to participate in. I also think it is excellent that there is a genuine contest for the General Secretary position and Jerry’s campaign will help keep Len on his toes…but there is no need for snide remarks or backstabbing. After all we are all brothers and sisters here?

  52. John Grimshaw on said:

    mark anthony france: I also think it is excellent that there is a genuine contest for the General Secretary position and Jerry’s campaign will help keep Len on his toes…but there is no need for snide remarks or backstabbing.

    I have read the contributions on this thread but have not commented largely because I am not a member of Unite. However I do think Mark makes a good point here. I assume Jerry will most likely lose, but providing a challenge for Len cannot be wrong. In my experience “leftists” in trades unions often seek to avoid democratic elections because they see them as at best a distraction or at worst as an attack on their position(s)/sinecures. Potentially of course this leads then to be as “bad” as the “rightists” that they have defeated.

  53. brianthedog on said:

    ‘ GOOGLELISTED ‘

    #57 So according to Mark Anthony France Mr Hicks has not been blacklisted as part of the construction industry consultancy association.

    Ok but why is Mr Hicks then putting out a press release that gives an inference that he is part of this and is piggy backing on this scandal?

    Also according to Mark Anthony France, Mr Hicks has been affected by an new phenomemon of being ‘GOOGLELISTED’.

    I have just googled ‘Jerry Hicks Trade Unionist’ to see what it brings up. ………. a wiki page (nothing on being blacklisted), running for GS numerous times, a piece from our dear old Socialist Unity (again about running for GS) and a very new 5 days ago page from ‘anti capitalist’ who are backing Jerry Hicks and state that Mr Hicks is a blacklisted candidate and on an illegal list.

    What illegal list?

    Googling someone and finding out that they have spent the last eight years full time trying and failing to become general secretary of the UK’s largest trade union may, its true, put off many an employer were Mr Hicks to spare the time to apply.

    However its has been Mr Hicks sole decision to put himself forward for election of General Secretary and i find it a bit of stretch of the imagination that this means he has been blacklisted in any way that for example the construction workers have been subjected to.

    The only information on google about blacklisting and illegal lists is being put forward by friends of Mr Hicks. Strange but maybe they are trying to create the idea of a matyr.

    * “Asking when Jerry is going to lodge his court case is an infantile jibe” No i stated where has he lodge his court case which is a totally different thing and completely reasonable given Mr Hicks has I believe stated he is going to court over this. Mr Hicks has in the past made numerous claims which then come to nothing. So where is the court case?

    * Snide remarks – may i refer you to Mr Hicks press release published as a matter of public service by the dear Vanya (thank you) to see a master class in snide remarks.

  54. I#56

    1) If I have misquoted you please show where- a mammoth task given that you actually have referrered to the payment from Rolls Royce on several occasions while slagging Jerry off.

    If you can’t do that, please answer my question.

    2) I am not currently a solicitor and am obliged by law not to pass myself off as one. If I was , and Socialist Unity were to seek my advice on the matter you raise, I would suggest that their first and only course of action would be to use the telephone number provided by Jerry and direct their enquires to him by call or text. I would not charge very much for that advice even though it may seem very complex to a simple soul such as yourself.

  55. brianthedog,

    dear brianthedog,
    who are you? you come across rather agressively in the context of this blog [as unfortunately several other people do too]

    re the broader issue of blacklisting …let me tell you a story
    Age the age of 16 in September 1978 I had an interview for a job as a Junior Medical Scientific Officer based at Gooch Street Forensic Laboratories, Birmingham… the inteview went well and I had the qualifications for the post… the next day I am offered the job by phone and then recieve a letter confirming the appointement with a start date… a few day later I get a phone call saying the offer was withdrawn from the very embarrassed Senior Scientific Officer who had interviewed me… He said I had failed the ‘Home Office Vetting Procedures’…
    Brianthedog [that is being blacklisted]
    For the next 9 years I spent a great deal of time applying for jobs that I was gualified for and never getting interviews… I ended up taking whatever work I could… always in non union environments where I always attempted to unionise the workplace… much to the detriment of my already fucked career.
    Years Later in 1987 when I was a student at Wolverhampton Polytechnic I was reliably informed that I was on an Economic League Blacklist by someone who had access to my file which suppossedly ran to 40 sheets of A4
    Eventually, I apply for and get a ‘civil service’ job when the Economic Crisis hits in the aftermath of 2008 … I get an Admin Job at Bromsgrove JobCentre…
    I get witchunted and victimised out of that job for speaking live to Sky News on the MP’s Expenses Scandal in May 2009…
    Since then I can’t get a job… I survive by causual decorating work… doing a paper round and a causual office cleaning job… my average total income from all sources is barely £3 per day….
    That my friend Brianthedog… is the reality for labour movement activists who are ‘blacklisted’…. and before you ask … no I haven’t engaged a legal team to lodge a court case… but if you know anyone who can take it on pro bono… please tell to get in touch…

  56. brianthedog on said:

    #61 Not sure how i come across as aggressive and i certainly try to refrain from some of vulgar abuse some of the commenters on this thread have a tendency to sometimes use.

    Yes blacklisting is horrendous and i have stated numerous times that the construction industry consultancy association is a scandal. I am also sorry to hear of your own problems.

    In regard to Mr Hicks I think its a very different situation as i have pointed out on this thread.

    I would like to a response to the points I raise in post #59 as being ‘GOOGLELISTED’ and choosing to spend a huge amount of work and run for general secretary 3 times is very different to the blacklisting the construction industry workers have been subjected to.

  57. brianthedog,

    Brianthedog… Jerry may have a bee in his bonnet about standing for Unite GenSec… and he may be [relatively speaking] still sitting pretty on his payout from Rolls Royce… Jerry may be milking the whole ‘blacklisting’ thing to try to launch his campaign…
    Just as Len used the LSE Miliband lecture to codify his radical, left, and even marxist credentials…. Len is in my view a force for good in the wide Trade Union Movement and partly in response to the challenge Jerry Hicks made has been pushing UNITE in a positive direction…
    I hope Len wins the election and that UNITE becomes a union that genuinely empowers its members at the grassroots level … I hope the various historically components of UNITE come together in closer union…I hope to see a flowering of internal life and democracy in newly form branch structures and a serious discussion of how we can defend ourselves against the attacks of the CON/DEMS…
    I also hope that people refrain from concentrating their fire on members of the Union like Jerry who do represent a genuine constituency and have a right to challenge well paid bureaucrats and give them a run for their money.
    Jerry, has done at lot of work raising the issue of ‘blacklisting’ long before it finally got debated in parliament…
    The unfortunate reality is that in the past Trade Union Officer have collaborated with the ‘blacklisting’ process… I can speak with personal knowledge of this a T&GWU full timer in Birmingham in the late 1970’s Eric McDonald who went on to be a fulltime bureaucrat in the T&GWU right up to the struggle over the closure of the Longbridge plant… playing a role in promoting the ‘Phoenix’ group whose takeover and subsequent asset stripping, shock closure,running off with £40million in cash devastated south birmingham and north worcestershire in 2005 …. well Eric had his own ‘blacklist’ of T&GWU members who he wanted excluded from acitivity in the union…
    This sort of undemocratic behaviour has no place in the Labour Movement today… and no place in UNITE

  58. brianthedog on said:

    #63 “Jerry may have a bee in his bonnet about standing for Unite GenSec… and he may be [relatively speaking] still sitting pretty on his payout from Rolls Royce… Jerry may be milking the whole ‘blacklisting’ thing to try to launch his campaign…”

    Yes there is a large bee in the bonnet about being a General Secretary and I believe Mr Hicks uses negative and dubious issues to campaign upon.

    I don’t think that Mr Hicks is sitting pretty from his Rolls Royce pay out. It was a huge sum but he has spent 8 years funding full time planning or running for General Secretary.

    Yes i agree with you that maybe he is milking it regarding the whole blacklisting thing for his election campaign – which if true is pretty shoddy and distateful.

    Completely disagree how this compares in any way to Len McCluskey LSE Milliband lecture. And honestly its a farce to suggest that Mr Hicks has pushed Len or Unite in a positive direction.

    Mr Hicks is generally seen a divisive negative figure who makes reactionary populist statements to garner a few more branch nominations and votes. Him being GS would be seen as a backward step and lead to a bloodbath.

    I also do not believe that Jerry Hicks has a genuine constituency. Yes he has a ‘brand’ name that is known to members because he has cultivated this over the 3 times he has stood for GS. However he himself does not have any position within the union and the grassroots organisation that he set up and leads doesn’t have an elected person on any senior national body.

    Glad you hope to see Len McCluskey win as i agree with you that he has brought the union together and has put in place lots of important changes.

  59. brianthedog: I also do not believe that Jerry Hicks has a genuine constituency.

    Well the fact that he got enough nominations to stand last time (although I understand that proposed rule changes that were defeated would have made that a lot more difficult this time, unless I’m wrong), and the size of his vote would suggest otherwise.

    Part of my problem with the approach of certain UL supporters on here is that if you seek to de-legitmise candidates in the language that you use, you also implicitly de-legitimse the people who vote for them.

    For example, you raise the fact that an appeal has been made by an un-named branch against being reorganised as evidence of them being ‘reactionary’ without any context or details whatsoever, and prior to any decision on the appeal (whatever it is about). I trust that you are not one of the decision makers on the appeal.

    Members are members, not either reactionaries or sound depending on the dikat of this or that leading member of the United Left.

    ‘He’s dodgy, take my word for it’. The sort of thing that poisons the atmosphere in unions.

    brianthedog: the grassroots organisation that he set up and leads doesn’t have an elected person on any senior national body.

    The existence of permanent political factions inside the union and with a semi official status is in fact a potential threat to its democracy in my view.

    Particularly when a majority of the leadership are members of one which appears to act in a diciplined democratic centralist fashion.

    The fact that most of the far left sects are able to operate within it doesn’t make it any more representative of the actual membership, the opposite in fact.

    (The expulsion of the SWP from the UL I can’t get exorcised about, it’s a case of do as we say not as we do).

  60. Manzil on said:

    Vanya: The existence of permanent political factions inside the union and with a semi official status is in fact a potential threat to its democracy in my view.

    Particularly when a majority of the leadership are members of one which appears to act in a diciplined democratic centralist fashion.

    The fact that most of the far left sects are able to operate within it doesn’t make it any more representative of the actual membership, the opposite in fact.

    But caucusing is just so fun

    It’s possibly my favourite thing that isn’t a sub-committee.

    #64. As to Jerry Hicks lacking support, well he got fifty thousand votes last time. Obviously the situation is different now, and I don’t think that we’ll see a repeat performance of that. But compared to the comrades warning of ‘civil war’ in Unite, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a robust exercise in union democracy. I think Hicks is going in the wrong direction compared to two and a bit years ago, but he’s still fundamentally on the right side. He’s no Bayliss, nor would he ever be, whether he got the spoiler votes of right-wing (anti-)trade unionists keen to put the boot in to Len McCluskey or not.

  61. brianthedog on said:

    #65 Vanya once again I think i made myself pretty clear (but not to you as usual) in my previous post.

    Once more for the point of clarity and to help Vanya I will also say this very slowly …………………………………………………..

    Mr Hicks does not have a genuine constituency in Unite as in not having any elected position. Not a union rep, not on a RISC, not on a NISC, not on a Regional Committee, not on the EC and not GS.

    I think i also made myself clear about having a ‘brand’ name because he has stood 3 times. I can’t be bothered even for you to clarify this point once again.

    Political groups are allowed in Unite and Vanya doesn’t like it. Mr Hicks does, as at the last election he wanted to be the United Left candidate. There is no need today to repeat what happened then. Mr Hicks then set up his own political group and became its leader. His group puts together slates for election on to senior democratic bodies of Unite and so far his group has failed and therefore does not have a constituency.

    Branch reorganising

    Yet more getting the wrong end of the stick … Vanya please read what i wrote in post #13 and post #52. Again its pretty clear what i said.

    Mr Hicks branch restructuring statement is a cynical ploy and reactionary. The branch in question does not want to merge with an ex amicus branch following a merger of two companies.

    A creation of one workplace branch (instead of two branches based on two companies and two unions that no longer exist) which would be in the interests of the membership.

  62. brianthedog,

    Mr Hicks is generally seen a divisive negative figure who makes reactionary populist statements to garner a few more branch nominations and votes. Him being GS would be seen as a backward step and lead to a bloodbath.

    Brianthedog… you should be careful when discussing internal trade union elections via an open web site like socialist unity [even if you retain your own anonmyity … ‘Bloodbath’… I have friends and comrades who have shed their blood in life and death struggles … so to, even in jest, compare a gentile, via postal ballot, internal, trade union, election, to a ‘bloodbath’ seems a wee bit extreme.
    in the 21st Century we need a new form of internal discussion and debate inside our movement…. inside trade unions new members should not be subject to bizarre ancient feuds between ‘trots’ and ‘tankies’… or any other false divide…. Sometimes the popular press and media that paint the Trade Union Movement as some sort of ‘Mafia’ have a point…. most TU’s despite them standing head and shoulders above conventinal ‘democractic’ structures like councils or parliament…. most TU’s have virtually NO internal democracy and are dominated my various ‘cliques’ most of these ‘cliques’ have little or NO support in the wider membership of the UNION…. Thank God Almighty for Jerry Hicks who proves that the internal democracy within UnitetheUnion is actually begining to function in the way it did when my Dad Barry France was Chair of the National Union of Vehicle Builders, Selly Oak, Branch in 1967… in those days people from the shop floor had real infulence over the actions of union full timers and most of the fulltimers had served their time as shop stewards…. Today…. most Unions are ‘a load of bollocks and bullshit’ [a quote from a college, a teaching assistant and member of UNISON during a pointless, symbolic day of strike action in 2008]
    brianthedog …. your decision to focus on Jerry Hicks …almost as an enemy… strikes me as perverse… OUR real enemies are huge and powerfull… they run the government and control armies and nuclear weapons… but you choose to direct your fire against an unemployed chap in the south west of england who has the guts to attempt to shake up the bureaucratic structure of UNITE…. I suggest your focus is misplaced…. and that it is entirely possible to UNITE and that the process of UNITING is aided by peoople like Jerry Hicks being allowed to have his say in a democractic election… LET THEM MEMBERS DECIDE…. and stop shit stirring

  63. brianthedog: Vanya I will also say this very slowly

    How do I know how fast or slow you are typing?

    brianthedog: Political groups are allowed in Unite and Vanya doesn’t like it.

    I will say this very carefully, so to misunderstand can only be a sign of stupidity or dishonesty (or that all too common blend of the two)- I did not say I don’t like political groups being allowed to organise. I explained why and under which circumstances I think it may be a problem.

    Please re-read what I said.

    brianthedog: I have personally come across a branch which has had the proposal to create a workplace branch with a company they have merged over 5 years ago. This other company was an ex amicus workplace.

    That’s what you said initially. Now you’ve explained it clearly I see the point. Nevertheless I am not going to take your word for the fact that people are necessarally acting in bad faith or from factional or sectional interests.

    Btw I don’t object to people being reorganised into functioning branches and am pleased that this is
    happening to myself. And I don’t agree that people should be able to veto it either, if that’s what Jerry means. If there is a proper mechanism for appealing and reviewing decisions then fair enough.

    brianthedog: not having any elected position. Not a union rep, not on a RISC…

    and yet he got enough branch nominations to stand and 50,000 votes.

    mark anthony france,

    There’s a lot there to reflect on in my opinion.

  64. ‘Today…. most Unions are ‘a load of bollocks and bullshit’

    Can’t agree with this. Union officers and officials are mostly extremely hard-working people who give their all to the movement. The old line that these cynical cliques are keeping the members down doesn’t really stand up. Low rank and file participation in union meetings and structures inevitably leads to officials playing a bigger role than anybody – themselves included – would like.

    We should be proud of our unions and speak up for them rather than dogmatically criticising from the left, or joining in with the constant drip drip of abuse from the media.

    I would also say ‘booooo!’ to both sides of this debate. I’d like to hear more about Len’s plans for the general election or current achievements (from len supporters) or more about Hick’s aims for rebuilding shop steward’s movement (from his supporters) – I, for one, have had enough of the ‘read my post really carefully you moron’ type exchange. Move on? Unless, of course, this is fun for you, in which case, enjoy away!

  65. BombasticSpastic on said:

    Well the fact that he got enough nominations to stand last time (although I understand that proposed rule changes that were defeated would have made that a lot more difficult this time, unless I’m wrong), and the size of his vote would suggest otherwise.

    There was a proposal to raise the qualifying number of nominations for a GS election from 50 to 100. This was referred back to the Unite Executive. The United Left on the Executive unanimously declined the proposal; and thus the number remains 50.

    When I spoke against raising the figure I did mention giving the likes of Jerry Hicks a chance to run. I suspect Jerry will be defeated again; yet I look forward to his 2018 campaign.

    Hopefully by then Jerry will see the advantage of looking to the truth and facts when he lays out his stall rather than propagating the lies and untruths.

  66. BombasticSpastic: There was a proposal to raise the qualifying number of nominations for a GS election from 50 to 100. This was referred back to the Unite Executive. The United Left on the Executive unanimously declined the proposal; and thus the number remains 50.

    When I spoke against raising the figure I did mention giving the likes of Jerry Hicks a chance to run. …

    Credit where credit’s due.

  67. secret factioneer on said:

    Is it news that JH now has the nominations required and so there will be an election?

  68. BombasticSpastic:
    When I spoke against raising the figure I did mention giving the likes of Jerry Hicks a chance to run. …

    So thanks to you, as well as the EC decision to run a totally unnecessary election, a million pounds of Unite members subs will be squandered!

  69. Sean:
    BombasticSpastic:
    When I spoke against raising the figure I did mention giving the likes of Jerry Hicks a chance to run. …

    So thanks to you, as well as the EC decision to run a totally unnecessary election, a million pounds of Unite members subs will be squandered!

    Sean:
    BombasticSpastic:
    When I spoke against raising the figure I did mention giving the likes of Jerry Hicks a chance to run. …

    So thanks to you, as well as the EC decision to run a totally unnecessary election, a million pounds of Unite members subs will be squandered!

    Yes democracy really is a pain.

    Why do we even HAVE elections? People in the know like you should pick the GS, because the members clearly can’t be trusted.

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