THE RESULTS of the executive elections for the new Amicus union were still coming in as Socialist Worker went to press.
The Amicus union was created out of the merger of the MSF and AEEU unions. The right wing controlled both unions. Last year Derek Simpson was elected general secretary of the AEEU, beating Sir Ken Jackson, Tony Blair's favourite trade unionist.
There is deep concern and anger among Amicus members about the haemorrhaging of jobs in manufacturing, attacks on pensions and the union's role in backing up the government.
The left wing Amicus Unity Gazette stood a full slate in the executive elections. Three Socialist Worker supporters were elected to the new executive. They were Jerry Hicks in the aerospace and shipbuilding section, Gill George in the NHS section and Ian Allinson in the telecoms, electrical engineering and IT section. All three left candidates in the NHS section were elected for the three positions on the executive.
Gill George said, 'It was a vote for change in my section of the union. The members want a union that represents them, instead of automatically lining up with the government. We campaigned against the union's decision to support the government's Agenda for Change agreement which will mean pay cuts for members. The union should not support privatisation and foundation hospitals. Members in the NHS have rejected that in this result.'
Jerry Hicks, a Rolls-Royce worker in Bristol, topped the poll in his section. He told Socialist Worker, 'My election was a fabulous result. I beat an establishment figure to win in my section. It is a big pointer for how people feel in the industry. The three left candidates came in the top four positions.'
As Socialist Worker went to press all the signs were that the election was very tight between the left and the right. Union activists, and the new left executive members, need to begin the process of building a grassroots group in the union.
This can pressurise the new union executive and fight over jobs, pensions and privatisation in the future.