Unite Branches Should Re-nominate Len Mccluskey

Nomination forms should be sent to branches by 7th January. Therefore UNITE branches need to have a meeting between now and 15th February. If you don’t get nomination papers to the branch, then e-mail ELECTIONS@UNITETHEUNION.ORG

LEN’S DETAILS: BRANCH NW/567 – NUMBER 1121

Download the United Left leaflet supporting Len here

United left argues that Len McCluskey’s term of office from Jan 2010 has seen:

•Real leadership in the fight against austerity – UNITE’s message is clear: “no to all cuts – don’t make workers pay for the crisis”
•Branch reorganisation to create workplace branches
•Genuine empowerment to members with the branch as the base Branch funding for every branch implemented
•£25M dispute fund set up Leverage strategy developed and now major resources devoted to further work
•A genuine fighting back strategy that is seeing real wins for UNITE workers when they take strike action
•Community membership introduced – a first in the union movement 50,000 new members from a relaunched 100% campaign
•Plans for a new conference/training centre in Birmingham city centre
•A real fightback in the Labour Party with a brand new UNITE political strategy – no more blank cheques!
•A culture of openness, tolerance and democracy throughout the union
•New ecomms strategy giving UNITE the best website and member contact in the union movement
•Membership data systems overhauled and simplified
•No repudiations of any dispute since Len took office Root and branch review started of every UNITE department to make it “fit for purpose”
•New impetus to our international work -developing a fighting back organising strategy in all the GUFS
•Ending the TGWU/AMICUS divide and genuinely uniting our new UNITE union

Broadly these positions are accurate, and Len has done a good job so far, and it is in the interests of the left to continue to stabilise the union under left leadership.

62 comments on “Unite Branches Should Re-nominate Len Mccluskey

  1. Manzil on said:

    I understand and indeed share people’s respect for Jerry Hicks, but I hope Len McCluskey is re-elected – not just for Unite but the progress of the trade union movement generally.

  2. I’m sure if Jerry Hick stood for something a little more modest members would possibly elect him – I don’t really understand why it has to be the top job or nothing.

    Regardless, Len will win, so hopefully the election will simply be a chance to fraternally debate direction rather than descend into something more divisive.

  3. ‘…hopefully the election will simply be a chance to fraternally debate direction rather than descend into something more divisive.’

    We live in hope. Perhaps that will be reflected on here?

  4. Time for change , time to start using the political fund for political purposes instead of the Bank of the Labour Party , time to return the Union back to the members , time to introduce democracy into the Union , time for the union to actively campaign on behalf of the membership , time to place the members first , Yes time for change .

  5. Is it correct that the election is being held 2 years earlier than would normally be the case. If so can anyone explain why? I had a look at the United Left leaflet which didn’t appear to, and I couldn’t find anything on the members’ website.

  6. Vanya: the Socialist Party statement (where they come out in favour of his re-election) they say;

    “Unite general secretary Len McCluskey has decided to bring forward the next election for general secretary by almost three years. Because of his age, realistically he would otherwise be a ‘one-term’ general secretary. This move has been agreed after wide consultation on the left, including ourselves.”

    http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/15886/03-01-2013/unite-the-union-general-secretary-election

    Sounds plausible.

  7. Paul Houldsworth:
    Time for change , time to start using the political fund for political purposes instead of the Bank of the Labour Party , time to return the Union back to the members , time to introduce democracy into the Union , time for the union to actively campaign on behalf of the membership , time to place the members first , Yes time for change .

    Unite does all of that. What is the ‘Bank of the Labour Party’

  8. Paul Houldsworth:
    Time for change , time to start using the political fund for political purposes instead of the Bank of the Labour Party , time to return the Union back to the members , time to introduce democracy into the Union , time for the union to actively campaign on behalf of the membership , time to place the members first , Yes time for change .

    Good quote from the SP article sums GRL up

    “Instead of following our advice and coming into the United Left after the last general secretary election, Jerry Hicks has continued with his own ‘Grassroots Left’.

    But we don’t believe that Jerry has proved capable of building the broad left alliance that would be essential to drive the union to the left, combat the bureaucracy and build across the wider trade union movement.”

  9. prianikoff on said:

    I’m not sure what Peter Taffe discussed at the 2 hour meeting he had with Len McCluskey (was it minuted?)
    But, dare I say it, the SP’s arguments for supporting him have implications for their activities in the anti-Cuts campaigns too.
    McCluskey after all, has been prominent at Coalition of Resistance conferences over the past 2 years.
    I can’t see him agreeing to UNITE disaffiliation from the Labour Party any time soon either.
    Yet Taaffe agreed to “critically support” his campaign.
    In which case, why maintain the NSSN as a seperate organisation from COR.
    Being ever so slightly provocative, was this decision based on a principled agreement, or is it a case of favourable treatment to a fellow scouser and ex-Militant supporter?

  10. Manzil on said:

    I don’t think your view is very credible, prianikoff.

    The SP respected the outcome of the United Left hustings during the last election, despite Rob Williams’ defeat. Why should it take a different approach this time? Jerry Hicks walked out of UL at that time and seems to have learned no lessons about how to ‘win friends and influence people’ since.

    McCluskey’s re-election offers the chance to consolidate the massive improvements Unite has made to the movement under his leadership. Obviously there are disagreements over the Labour Party, but equally clearly if Unite is to continue funding the LP it is better to have a socialist general secretary who is prepared to actively use his union’s weight to fight for progressive policies.

    If, on account of his age, Len McCluskey didn’t think it feasible to stand in 2015, that lack of a left incumbent would severely hamper the inevitable resurgence of the Les Bayliss tendency, especially given the equally inevitable impact that the general election would have on members’ views.

    Re: NSSN – to the extent that it offered (to its supporters, at least) the potential means towards rebuilding shop-floor organisation, its justification (if not, necessarily, likelihood of success) was self-evident.

    However, the resignation of essentially its entire non-SP cohort, and the party’s desire to turn it into a (third) national anti-cuts campaign (groan…) means that (unless the party accepts its mistakes and tries to reorient NSSN back towards its initial purpose) it should be openly accepted that the wrong-headed ambition to ‘compete’ with Counterfire and the SWP’s rival efforts has essentially wrecked NSSN, and we should instead humbly contribute however we can to the Coalition of Resistance.

  11. prianikoff on said:

    Even if the SP’s rationale for supporting Len McCluskey is somewhat obscure, their decision is the right one. Jerry Hicks doesn’t have enough support to win and he’s creating an unecessary split on the left.

    Applying this correct step to the anti-cuts movement means unifying NSSN, Unite the Resistance and COR into a common organisation.
    A representative national leadership should include left TU leaders like McCluskey and Crow, left Labour MP’s like John McDonnell, anti-cuts Labour councillors, the SP, SWP, Counterfire, Respect, the CP-B and the Scottish left. It also needs to draw in groups like UK Uncut.
    This would reflect the majority view of activists on the ground and develop a critical mass that none of the campaigns have been able to achieve on their own.

    There has been no shortage of demonstrations and one -day strikes against cuts over the past 2 years. The problem has been their lack of coordination. In the coming year, it’s vital to overcome this weakness.
    It’s also necessary to develop the economic and political arguments required to rearm the labour movement.

  12. If there is so called critical support why only mention the Labour Party issue? Why no mention of the appalling BA settlement, the shameful treatment of Remploy workers by the unions, the fact that UNITE has pushed councillors such as Cllr Abrams in Lambeth to vote for cuts after he took a stance against them?

    The BA dispute was dishonestly called honourable by McCluskey when it achieved none of the original demands, and the job losses and two tier workforce were implanted. UNITE also agreed not to give legal representation to members who had issues around the dispute and agreed that BA could train up scabs for future disputes. Can’t really see the honour in this.

    The list of successes put forward by the SP are pitiful for a union so large. It’s all good and well saying we need a general strike, but it’s actions not words that count.

    Why hasn’t UNITE even organised a national demonstration against the attacks and privatisation of the NHS?

  13. BombasticSpastic on said:

    “The shameful treatment of Remploy workers by the unions”.

    A government ideologically set on a course to destroy the Welfare State takes out an element of that state, Remploy, and the unions are to blame! How is it that Remploy members of my old Branch aren’t blaming the unions for the closures of their factories and loss of their jobs?

    While the BA strikers did not win all their demands, Willy Walsh certainly didn’t declare the dispute a success; and BASSA did succeed in ensuring Unite is still a strong presence in the CAT industry.

    Unite is not the main NHS union. We can only properly tackle the NHS when Unison, and to a lesser degree the GMB, take the initiative. As for a national demonstration in support of the NHS, the October TUC demo was originally planned as such. However, during a TUC GC meeting Matt Wrack of the FBU and Mark Serwotka requested the demon cross a wider spread of sectors, and Unite agreed.

    Dan, don’t you get it; big business in this country were gunning for during the BA dispute. Had Walsh won the BA dispute, the union movement would be in a far weaker position today.

    Finally, Kingsley Abrams has not been instructed to act in any way by Unite. Kingsley, if he is taken back by the Labour Group in Lambeth will act as he sees fit ensuring his constituents wishes met and he acts within Unite policy.

  14. Whatever your view of whether that’s all that could be won in the BA dispute to call it honourable was a disgrace. How can a deal that sacks workers, sets up a two tier workforce, agrees to a scab pool of labour etc be described as honourable? They won none of their original demands.

    UNITE is a massive union, it could easily have organised a national demo in defence of the NHS, there is no need to tail UNISON and the GMB.

    As for Remploy the people I know feel bitterly let down by the unions, even if the government is to blame.

    As for Kingsley I know him and UNITE did put pressure on him to vote for the cuts.

    I’m sorry but the list of successes under McCluskey is pitifully small.

  15. BombasticSpastic on said:

    Dan, explain how the unions let down Remploy. What exactly are the Remploy people you know saying?

    Yes, Unite is a massive union, with a health sector. Over the past couple of years Unite health workers have come out on strike across a number of disciplines; however, as a minority union in this very large sector to be effective we need the support of both Unison and the GMB.

    Kingsley Abrams is nobodies pawn.

  16. Dan: Whatever your view of whether that’s all that could be won in the BA dispute to call it honourable was a disgrace. How can a deal that sacks workers, sets up a They won none of their original demands.

    Welcome to the reality of industrial relations. It was a tough fight, and one incidently where the lay member activists in BASSA retained their confidence in the UNITE officials. There comes a point in any dispute where you have to decide whether the risks of continuing outweigh the advantages; and leverage the uncertainty that the management have about your continued capability to prosectute the dispute.

    BA management secured no victory, and were smarting and licking their wounds – so apart from the substantive issues that UNITE did see progress on; BA management learned to be scared and stay scared of what UNITE could do. Sometimes that is what you achieve, and live to fight another day.

    Dan: UNITE is a massive union, it could easily have organised a national demo in defence of the NHS, there is no need to tail UNISON and the GMB.

    The NHS is a suprisingly challenging sector to organise in; certainly given their relativly smal size in the NHS, here would be a real danger that anything caled by one minority union could look like a damp squib; sometimes it is better to leave management unsure of your strength, rather than show them you are weak.

    Dan: As for Remploy the people I know feel bitterly let down by the unions, even if the government is to blame.

    I suggest that the people you know are unrepresentative; your expereince does not match mine.

  17. Indeed Kingsley Abrams is nobodies pawn. But that didn’t stop UNITE putting pressure on him to vote for the cuts in Lambeth.

    It’s just not true to say that UNITE couldn’t organise a demonstration against the attacks on the NHS. This isn’t just an issue that affects the workers but the vast majority of the population. A huge union like UNITE could easily organise a national demonstration. It doesn’t depend on UNISON or the GMB at all.

    In terms of comment 19 to say that BA management were licking their wounds is farcical. They achieved all their original aims, sacked the workers, created a two tier workforce, got UNITEs permission to set up a scab pool of labour and an agreement that they wouldn’t help their members if they took legal action. I would disagree, but even if you thought this was the best that could be done, to call it honourable is shameful. It wasn’t honourable it was the management giving the workers a kicking.

    Will come back on Remploy later.

  18. BombasticSpastic on said:

    Dan, I was Chair of Unite’s L&E Political Committee at the time Kingsley Abrams was originally suspended from the Labour Group in Lambeth, allegedly for misconduct towards another/other Labour Group members at a public Council meeting (I was also at that meeting sitting 2 meters from Kingsley and 4 meters from one of the Councillors allegedly ‘abused’). At the time I also sat on Unite’s National Political Committee.

    So, I was very involved, along with the Regional Chair, Secretary and Political Officer in the whole situation surrounding Kingsley’s expulsion and the attempts to have him reinstated. The main reason he wasn’t reinstated was because he stuck to his guns in regard to the cuts; and had the full support of the Regional Political Committee, Regional Committee and Executive Council.

  19. BombasticSpastic on said:

    #21

    Now there’s a surprise.

    Whatever is said against McCluskey, it can never be said that he has not got the courage of his convictions. Just as several years ago he promised to abide by the decision of the hustings in Manchester, he has this time put himself in front of the United Left NCC, the UL National Supporters Meeting and the Executive Council, all of whom have endorsed Len’s candidature.

    To whom is Jerry Hicks answerable? Has Jerry presented himself in front of the Grassroots Left and sought endorsement? Indeed, Jerry wasn’t even present at the Grassroots Left 3rd National Conference on 17th November 2012 held in Birmingham!

  20. #23 Leaving aside the merits of the respective candidates, are you ever going to stop banging on about a meeting of a self-selected left caucus in Manchester 2 years ago?

    The United Left points out that it is not an official body of or substitute for the democratic structures of the Union. Why should anyone feel answerable to a decision by one of its meetings?

    And why should anyone who was not there be in the slightest bit interested?

    In fact, now the Union is more or less under the complete leadership of people who are members of it (for better or worse- and I suspect on balance the former) why does it need to exist? And certainly why does it need to take decisions? Genuine question.

  21. BombasticSpastic on said:

    Dan, up until last autumn I was the Branch Secretary for the Remploy London factories, a position I held for some 16 years. During this entire period I spent my time representing disabled workers in disciplinarians and grievances; I assisted with the application of social security benefits all the way through to appeal stage.

    Over this period I got to know Remploy workers in London and around the country very well. In times of strife and struggle our Branch answered the call. When 13-years ago we needed bodies for a 24-hour vigil outside parliament to stop a proposed closure of anything up to 16 factories, the 1971 Remploy Branch sent along its members; a couple of us braved the freezing February weather staying out for the complete period.

    Margaret Hodge, the Minister for Disabled People at the time, called the unions and company to a meeting a few days later where a moratorium on closures was imposed. The upshot of this was that a couple of sites did close, but their workforces were subsumed into local factories.

    We were at the Emirates several years ago fighting for a new factory for the Holloway Remploy Comrades displaced by the new Arsenal ground. When I say we, I mean the trade union movement. Hundreds of non-Remploy union activists turned up on that Saturday and helped get the message across to the Remploy board that they had a duty to spend the money received from the Gunners to re-house their employees.

    Within weeks they had a replacement factory a couple of miles away off Green Lanes, Finsbury Park. Without the sell-out trade unions this factory would have gone to the wall.

    Further evidence of perfidious trade union action can be traced back to August 2007 when those back-stabbing bastards from the union side of the Remploy Consortium launched a nations-wide crusade to save thousands of their members’ jobs. Over a number of months a coach made its way from Aberdeen to Penzance visiting every Remploy factory, and garnering support along the way. The crusade culminated at the Labour Party Conference in Bournemouth, where thousands and thousands of trade unionists from around the UK and Ireland to lend their voices to those of their Remploy Comrades.

    In addition to the crusade Remploy Branches and factories in towns throughout England, Scotland and Wales organised their own rallies and demos throughout 2007 and 2008. I know as I travelled thousands of miles criss-crossing the countries from Stirling to Poole and Cardiff to Norwich joining thousands of other trade union activists in our fight to save the jobs of our disabled Comrades.

    Sadly Labour did not listen; and the following year 30 factories. Of course this made it easy for the Tories to come along a few years later and finish the job; and despite the Sayce Report that hammered home the last nails in the Remploy coffin, the trade union movement still brought the fight to the government, arranging lobbies in parliament, setting up meetings of Friends of Remploy MPs to listen to Remploy workers’ concerns. The 1971 Branch held a public meeting with a top table full of Remploy workers past and present who gave heart stirring testimonies of their working lives in Remploy; how they had fought every form of adversity before coming to work at Remploy; and how a sense of uselessness descended upon them as their factory gate slammed shut in 2008. One Comrade solemnly admitted to having become suicidal such was his feeling of hopelessness for the future.

    To say the unions let down Remploy is both a lie and a slur on the character of all the disabled trade unionists who fought until they could fight no longer against the forces of intransigent ideology.

  22. brianthedog on said:

    #25 A very moving and powerful piece ‘Bomba’.

    Dan disgraceful slurs are easy for him to say and much more difficult for him to defend.

    Bomba’s comments tally up with my experience last summer at the Acton site where the courageous Remploy Unite members were on strike.

    They, myself and their full time official blocked the road to stop a lorry from making a delivery.

    The driver called the site manager, who was allegedly on a bonus to assist in the site’s closure, he came out and made some stupid threats which we confronted and he then called the police.

    We made sure that truck didn’t cross the picket line.

  23. brianthedog on said:

    #23 Vanya are you sure that was a genuine question? Really are you sure?

    Hmmm so left wing non sectarians in a union come together and organise to make sure that a progressive agenda is at the heart of the union. An organising union, a fighting back union and a campaigning union.

    It is successful at it, so successful, that what Vanya? Should it disband to allow the self selecting reactionary right and ultra left to take over?

    Jerry Hicks did indeed set up a self selecting counter group. He then funny enough becomes the chair of this small group.

    However as Bomba already stated, “To whom is Jerry Hicks answerable? Has Jerry presented himself in front of the Grassroots Left and sought endorsement? Jerry wasn’t even present at the Grassroots Left 3rd National Conference on 17th November 2012 held in Birmingham.”

    No, Which is all rather odd and very telling.

    Vanya why did Jerry Hicks set up a self selecting group and why does it exist? Genuine question.

  24. There seems to be a misconception of what I’m saying. I mean the UNITE leadership let the Remploy workers down in my view, I obviously don’t mean rank and file activists and agree that #25 is indeed a moving post. The point remains that Remploy workers I have spoken to have said strike action was called off when it shouldn’t have been and the campaign against the job losses was left to tail off by the leadership. That is the account they gave me, you obviously disagree. It’s not a slur, there no need to talk like we are in a stalinist show trial, it was their point of view.

    The same with Kingsley. I know him and I know people who are close to him. The point of view that he felt under pressure to stop oppossing the cuts by UNITE hasn’t come out of nowhere.

    But what is certain is that for McCluskey to call the BA deal honourable really is shameful. A deal that costs workers their jobs, created a two tier workforce, that approved a pool of scab labour etc is clearly not honourable, its is a vicious attack by the BA management on workers. For a leader of a union to call it honourable and try to pretend that what was happeneing was somehow ok, is deeply wrong in my view.

    Also on the NHS this ridiuclous view that a massive union of 1.5 million members couldn’t organise a national demo to support the NHS. They could have aligned with KONP and community groups all around the country as well as decent activists in UNISON and the GMB who don’t like what their leadership are doing.

    Once again I’d say that the list of achievments under McCluskey on the SP website are pitiful. It’s no good calling for a general strike but then achieve very little in practical terms.

  25. #27 surely Jerry Hicks and all candidates are surely accountable to the membership. Hicks wouldn’t have got on the ballot if branches hadn’t nominated him and he wouldn’t have got a very good vote if members hadn’t voted for him.

  26. Dan, are you the guy I had quite a decent argument with on here last year, about the impact of the RMT? You sound familiar. If it’s you, it’s good to see you back!

  27. andy newman on said:

    Dan: as well as decent activists in UNISON and the GMB who don’t like what their leadership are doing.

    All GMB activists like what our leadership is doing

    :)

    Look, the NHS is a challenging industrial landscape with relatively low density in many hospitals, and in many places management pressure and bullying, and all unions struggle to a certain extent. Despite huge efforts on N30 in 2011 the strike turnout in most NHS workplaces was very small.

    To suggest that this is a problem of leadership is puerile. Apart from anything else, the NHS is a multi-union environment, where if there were a competitive advatnage for any one union to be showing “fighting leadership” we would surely try it to sign people up!

    In actual fact there is no substitute for the hard grind of capacity building, seeking to recruit and empower lay reps to self-organise and taking what opportunites there are for building combativity. Actually I suspect that both UNISON health and GMB probably put more effort into NHS organising than is realy justified by the membership returns.

    UNITE is not the lead union in any hospital that I know of, though it may be in perhaps blood transfusion and some NHS labs; and experience shows that it is relatively difficult to mobilise activisst and other lay members for any issue that doesn’t directly affect their own employment.

    So not only are UNITE not the most appropriate union to call an NHS demo, but the result would probably be a damp squib, and give a misleadingly weak indication of political will to defend the NHS.

  28. andy newman on said:

    Dan: deal that costs workers their jobs, created a two tier workforce, that approved a pool of scab labour etc is clearly not honourable, its is a vicious attack by the BA management on workers. For a leader of a union to call it honourable and try to pretend that what was happeneing was somehow ok, is deeply wrong in my view.

    BA sought to break the union, and they failed to do so.

    The BA strike was extremely challenging for UNITE and I genuinely feared that BA would prevail and defeat the union; for UNITE to keep the workforce together, retain the confidence in the BASSA leadership by the members, and rertain the confidence in the officials by the BASSA leadership, was an achievement. As it was, UNITE negotiated a deal that was not bad given the balance of forces, and they live to fight again. Sometimes retaining and sustaining union organsation is a victory in itself, and it was indeed an honourable outcome.

  29. brianthedog on said:

    #29 The question was to Vanya.

    However your response doesn’t answer my question.

    Hicks has now lost twice and is now going to be a third time loser. Is the man punch drunk?

    Hicks is accountable to no one not even the self selecting group he has set up.

    Hicks was once accountable as a rep for about 100 members and has not worked since 2008.

  30. brianthedog on said:

    #32 Thanks for the post Andy as i am trying to refrain from responding to dim wits who think they can indulge in infantile posturing and re -write the history of the BA dispute.

    In regards to Dan’s other puerile comments about Unite and the NHS I suppose as Unite has some members on the railways we should also call a national railway strike as well. It doesn’t matter that the larger unions – RMT, ASLEF and TSSA are not going to be involved, we have got 1 1/2 million members! Yep! They just happen to be elsewhere! But what a cunning plan Baldrick and if it doesn’t happen we can blame Len!

  31. Brian – My answer to all your questions is that I neither know nor care.

    Go and explain your position on unemployed members to someone else.

  32. brianthedog on said:

    Dan makes reference earlier to the appalling BA settlement and castigates Len for it.

    Well Dan, BASSA who must be one of the biggest and best organised workplace branches with around 11,000 BA Cabin Crew members are about to nominate for the Unite GS elections.

    Who do you think they will support?

    Following on from Dan’s statements on how much he thinks he know sabout the dispute, how bad Unite and Len was, BA cabin crew members will surely be left with only one choice.

    I’ll let you know!

  33. Vanya:
    Brian – My answer to all your questions is that I neither know nor care.

    Go and explain your position on unemployed members to someone else.

    Why post any opinion then?

  34. brianthedog on said:

    #35 Thanks Vanya for requesting once more I explain that Jerry Hicks chooses not work and the similarities between him and Charlie boy.

    Jerry Hicks and Prince Charles spot the difference!

    Both are not gainfully employed.

    Both think they have a divine right to reach high office.

    Both are waiting and waiting to be crowned.

    Both don’t show any aptitude, skills or the knowledge to do the job.

    Most people wish the role would go to someone else.

    However I am not sure if Jerry Hicks wishes he was a tampon :)

  35. TC I only come on here now and again. Was it a debate about electing stewards, and how they had to rotate in the RMT. If so it was me and that was quite a good debate!

    Just because members accept a deal, doesn’t make it a good one. My problem is that the deal was called honourable, which it clearly wasn’t. I think it is a disgrace for a general secretary to say there is honour in loads of workers getting sacked, new workers having far worse conditions, and an agreement to have a pool of scab labour. I think the dispute could have been run much better, for instance by putting the strike days into bigger blocks, instead of being spread out, which puts far more pressure on the employer. But even if you accept that this was the best that could be done, it wouldn’t be honourable, it would be a bullying employer sacking loads of people and slashing terms and conditions.

    I am a steward in UNISON, and Dave Prentis has been elected again and again on large margins, am I meant to therefore say he is a good general secretary and has the members interests at heart? I hope you wouldn’t think this given his apparlling record in lots of disputes.

    On the NHS you keep just reducing it to how much you can mobilise the workers. The NHS is an issue for nearly everyone in the country, not just the people who work for the NHS. A union the size of UNITE could easily mobilise 100,000s or more on a national demonstration if it really went for it. 10-15,000 marched in Lewisham alone a couple of months back (I was on the demonstration). You don’t have to tell me how hard it can be to organise and build in a workplace, but the passion there is in the general population about the NHS means that a national demonstration would be fairly easy to build for if the leaderships had any sort of energy, but they are just totally routinist and stuck in their ways. And of course go home every year with 100-200k in their pocket. Another issue which is disgusting. Low paid members struggling on without pay rises while people like Prentis and McCluskey get rich on our subs.

  36. #39 Brian- Sorry if I haven’t made myself clear- I have nothing to discuss with you. It’s nothing to do with politics or even the union.

    It’s personal.

    Go and stick your head up your arse you obnoxious tosser.

  37. brianthedog on said:

    #41 You always know when the Vanya has lost an argument as the silly man just resorts to vulgar abuse. Get a grip.

  38. BombasticSpastic on said:

    Dan, it’s quite amusing for a Unison rep to come on here complaining that a sister union, and a junior one in a sector his own union dominates, isn’t doing enough during this periods of cuts and parlous times for the NHS.

    Dan, instead of expending your precious energies on the short fallings of Unite’s General Secretary; why not divert these resources into changing the shape of your union, especially at the helm. Stop taking your frustrations out on a sister union in which you have no control and reroute them into winning your own organisation back for its membership.

    You do this, Dan, and we in Unite promise to stand next side by side in any industrial actions in which you wish to lead.

  39. BombasticSpastic on said:

    As an aside, Dan. It wasn’t so long ago that Unison’s policy was against Remploy and supported employment. Up to very recently Unison’s delegation at the TUC Disabled Workers’ Conference were still abstaining from Motions calling for support of Remploy.

    So, when you point a finger at trade union failings at Remploy look to yourself and other purist organisations that helped condemn sister and brother trade unionists to a future of poverty level benefits.

  40. Marxist Lenonist on said:

    #43 You mean like the “vulgar abuse” you heaped on Jerry Hicks?! I mean if “I am not sure if Jerry Hicks wishes he was a tampon” after a whole series of scurrilous “comarisons” between him and Prince Charles isn’t vulgar abuse, what is?

  41. Why is it amusing? As if I am the general secretary of UNISON. You will note I’m not having a go at grassroots UNITE activists, but the UNITE leadership, just as I have massive issues with the UNISON leadership. But McCluskey is put forward as a left general secretary by a lot of the left, everyone knows what Prentis is.

    Also I go on this site from time to time, the vast majority of my time is spent doing union work and anti-cuts work. Including setting up a rank and file network in my branch where we have massively increased density and the number of stewards and won a number of campaigns. It is very difficult to change the leadership of UNISON as they carry out frequent witch hunts and expel activists and take over whole branches. I did work to support Paul Holmes at the last general secretary election. But as a socialist I don’t have a narrow view that my own union is my only interest. I am more than happy for UNITE activists to lay in to the leadership of UNISON, indeed I welcome them doing so.

    As for UNISON’s stance on Remploy, a total disgrace.

  42. #47 I don’t think it’s amusing but BS does have a point.

    A mass demo in defence of the NHS would be brilliant, but if you want one it really should be your own union that you put the pressure on.

    #43 As I’m not having an argument with you Brian I’m unclear which I have lost.

    I am genuinely interested in making a decision as to who to vote for in the GS election. For me you have nothing to contribute as I have no respect for your opinions because they are based on poison and invective disgusied as politics.

    I particularly laughed wben I saw in the UL leaflet that one of the achievements of the McCluskey team was bringing the AMICUS and T&G traditions closer together (a good thing) given your constant invective against the former.

    #46 Absolutely. Just like the trots he dislikes so much, no sense of self-awareness whatsoever.

  43. I do put pressure on my own union. The difference is that UNISON is run by total right wingers. If UNITE is being run by a left general secretary then they should put words in to practice, otherwise you have to doubt what being left just in name really means.

  44. Dan: The difference is that UNISON is run by total right wingers.

    That isn’t realy true, while I have significant disagreements with UNISON, in historical terms Dave Prentis is a centre-left leader; of the more significane unions only Community and USDAW are actually led by right wingers

  45. brianthedog on said:

    #46 and #48 So you think a tampon is vulgar. What strange ideas you have.

    #48 When is an argument not an argument, its seems when in Vanya’s parallel universe he personally decides its not, failing that you get a lot of vulgar abuse.

    For someone who espouses not to care about my opinions or answer my questions you sure do respond a lot :)

    No i didn’t put together the comment regarding Len’s teams achievements in bringing together ex Amicus and ex T&G. It has been done well and i personally feel i have contributed towards that. When i have spoken to (ex Amicus) Unite officers it is obvious that there was a climate of fear and a culture of doing people in. There was also a belief that Hicks and Bayliss would continue with it. This with the fact that they were both wedded to a servicing agenda was the reason so many (ex Amicus) Unite officers saw beyond any notion of ‘tribal lines’ and supported Len. The ex T&G side saw what was going on a quite rightly didnt want to go there. I clearly and happily expressed that opinion.

    There has been no bloodbaths and where i have come across people wanting to play the ex union card i have challenged it.

    Also the SWP have decided to once again to support Mr Hicks, “bearing in mind that Jerry Hicks is unemployed, takes no part in any UNITE constitutional committee anywhere and represents no-one, and has no administrative experience. Would you really trust this man to run a £150M organisation like UNITE” You did before Vanya and i am sure you and the SWP will make wonderful bedfellows.

  46. #49 I’ll let you know when I’ve looked into it further. There’s a few discussions I need to have before I have anything useful to say.

  47. james? on said:

    it doesnt sound particularly democratic to me if an election can be brought forward to benefit one candidate. thought i would have to say two year elections should probably be the norm especially given the large salary that more than compensates for the insecurity that democracy brings.
    every one has a right to stand in this election if they can pass the nomination procedures if people dont like that they know that the union could easily introduce the single transferable. jerry hicks came second in last two elections.

  48. Manzil on said:

    james?,

    On the other hand, ‘democracy’ (or at least the formal, state-imposed uniformity of administrative and electoral procedures that represents trade-union democracy) in the labour movement isn’t an end in and of itself. The trade unions exist to represent the interests of the working class, of which they are invariably the most politically advanced layer. So we should look at the actual effect of this decision.

    If we accept it was ‘brought forward to benefit one candidate’, what is the consequence of this? Hicks has compared McCluskey’s decision to the behaviour of Ken Jackson and Derek Simpson, which emphasises a shallow, formalistic analysis over an actual understanding of what ideas and forces are involved in this process. McCluskey’s election is in this sense of an entirely different order. It strengthens the left of Unite and consolidates the process of improvement which has occurred over the last several years.

    If, on the other hand, McCluskey was considered ‘too old’ in 2015, and either ran again despite this impression and suffered for it, or had to step aside for someone else – which, given his break with the United Left, would in all likelihood lead to Hicks again standing on his micro-’grassroots’ [grassroot?] platform and splitting the left vote, Untie would be vulnerable to the right-wing bureaucratic layers which, if they’re on the back foot, nevertheless have not been eradicated. This would only be exaggerated by the renewed vulnerability to the influence of labourism, parliamentarism, passivity and moderation which the 2015 election will undoubtedly sow amongst the organised working class.

    Christ, if the unlikely happens and this election resulted in Hicks becoming GS, that would equally be a victory for the left of the labour movement. Either way the forces of compromise and deadening conservatism in the trade unions will lose out because of this election being held now. This is the sort of election I can get behind. It must be how neoliberals feel in general elections.

  49. Derrick Eyre on said:

    its time for him to retire and let the younger generations start to come through. After all IDerek Simpson wanted to stay on until he was 68 and he was encouraged not to do so by Len. It now seams a bit Hypocritical for him to do the exact opposite. Also the salary’s of the top of our union should reflect more the comrades that they represent. In these hard times we are supposed to be in it together.

  50. Manzil on said:

    Derrick Eyre:
    its time for him to retire and let the younger generations start to come through. After all IDerek Simpson wanted to stay on until he was 68 and he was encouraged not to do so by Len. It now seams a bit Hypocriticalfor him to do the exact opposite. Also the salary’s of the top of our union should reflect more the comrades that they represent. In these hard times we are supposed to be in it together.

    The problem with Derek Simpson wasn’t that he was 68, it’s that he was a bureaucratic GS without any political vision, who turned on the people who helped elect him (including suspending union employees and witch-hunting Unity Gazette supporters), arsed around with nationalistic Daily Star publicity campaigns, was completely uncritical towards Labour under ‘man of action’ Gordon Brown etc.

    There is no comparison with Len McCluskey.

    That said, I’ve no dispute that the trade unions should work to improve the position of younger members, or that the salaries at the top of the union apparatus are excessive. But Hicks isn’t exactly a spring chicken, and while he opted for an average workers’ wage if elected, it’s a wider issue than one man’s (very commendable) offer, and shouldn’t be the sole deciding factor.

  51. Derrick Eyre on said:

    Well it seams that we only ever elect old farts so lets get a younger man or woman nominated and let them stand on a pledge to do the job for the wage of the commrades they represent, its 2013 not the 1970′s

  52. Just been informed that Jerry now has 100 branch nominations. Also that there’s a couple of new press releases and video of him at a demo by construction workers.

  53. drapeau rouge on said:

    brianthedog: Dan makes reference earlier to the appalling BA settlement and castigates Len for it. Well Dan, BASSA who must be one of the biggest and best organised workplace branches with around 11,000 BA Cabin Crew members are about to nominate for the Unite GS elections.Who do you think they will support? Following on from Dan’s statements on how much he thinks he know sabout the dispute, how bad Unite and Len was, BA cabin crew members will surely be left with only one choice.I’ll let you know!

    Um… you really ought to check your figures. According to BASSA’s own website, they represent ‘approximately 10,000′ (BASSA.CO.UK). What is also true is that the ex BMI cabin crew who had been members of Unite were summarily merged into BASSA’s numbers. Moreover, in September 2010, BASSA membership had dwindled to 9279, at which point the branch ceased publishing membership figures. To date there have been no published audited figures for membership. The BASSA leadership in the past five years have a history of unfortunate decisions. These range from providing dodgy advice to members on voting rights, sundry high court cases, instructions to members that were swiftly countermanded by the Unite leadership and ultimately signing the death warrant for the branch. BASSA do not represent the new cabin crew workforce, recruited in the wake of the dispute. Thus they will, over time, wither and die. If that is an example of ‘one of the biggest and best organised workplace branches ‘ then the future for the union movement is bleak.

  54. drapeau rouge on said:

    Back on topic – with the abolition of the retirement age it is slightly surprising to learn that the rationale behind the election is to avoid being a ‘one term’ GS due to age. Surely the proposed election means he runs the risk of being seen as ‘term and a half’ GS. Is the real issue that there is insufficient time to identify and groom a successor in the same mould – something which sounds remarkably like the North Korean and Chinese approaches to Marxist/Leninist dogma. This is not to say that providing a consistent approach to industrial relations is wrong, providing that such an approach reflects the changing times. The problems arise when the union gets stuck adopting early 20th century policies for 21st century situations. The future requires co-operation, not confrontation. Assertive, not aggressive. Not letting idealism cloud realism.

  55. drapeau rouge: Is the real issue that there is insufficient time to identify and groom a successor in the same mould – something which sounds remarkably like the North Korean and Chinese approaches to Marxist/Leninist dogma

    I don’t know what they’re talking about mate, that’s not an asinine comparison at all.

    Long Live McCluskey Jong-un!