Socialist Worker

Battle is on for the future of Unite

by Matthew Cookson
Issue No. 2125

There is a major fight underway for the future leadership and direction of Britain’s biggest union, Unite.

There have been a number of media reports about a conflict between Derek Simpson and Tony Woodley, the joint general secretaries of Unite.

The Amicus section of the union is now to hold an election for general secretary.

This means that the merger between Amicus and the T&G union has been delayed for six months.

Simpson is to stand for re-election. Other candidates are also aiming to gain enough nominations to stand.

The Amicus Unity Gazette – the left group in Amicus – is to hold a meeting this Saturday to select a candidate.

Socialist Worker supporters are arguing that the campaign must be run on a genuine left wing basis, with policies that will appeal to members in manufacturing and other sectors that will bear the brunt in a recession.

The campaign must put forward policies to ensure that workers do not pay the price for the economic crisis, and emphasise that the union should always put members’ interests first rather than those of the Labour government.

There have been a number of important struggles by Unite members over the last few months, including strikes by Shell tanker drivers, London bus workers and Ford workers in Southampton.

The left must relate to these as well as the internal debate in the union. The campaign should also put lay member control of the union at the forefront.

The left in the T&G and Amicus should also press ahead with plans to merge.

Amicus Unity Gazette meeting, 12 noon, Saturday 1 November, Guild Hall, Lancaster Road, Preston.

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Tue 28 Oct 2008, 18:37 GMT
Issue No. 2125
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