The election for the Unite union’s general secretary is set to take place next year. Derek Simpson and Tony Woodley are the joint general secretaries at the moment following the merger of Amicus and the T&G unions.
The election will decide who leads the new union, which is Britain’s biggest, after the general election against a government likely to launch significant attacks on union members.
The United Left, the union’s broad left organisation, is holding a hustings meeting in Manchester on 5 September for the left candidate for general secretary.
Assistant general secretary Len McCluskey, who stands in Woodley’s tradition, has declared his intention to stand.
Meanwhile, Jerry Hicks, the ex-Rolls Royce convenor who won 40,000 votes earlier this year when he challenged Derek Simpson in the Amicus section has also declared his intention to stand.
Jerry says, “Unofficial strikes and illegal occupations show that workers are prepared to take action outside of the structures.
“Having beaten two right wing national officials and running the incumbent general secretary Derek Simpson a close second in the Unite Amicus election, I have shown that a credible rank and file candidate can have a significant impact in this forthcoming election.”
Rob Williams, the convenor at Linamar who recently beat back an attempt to victimise him, has also indicated that he may stand. Unite members in both the private and public sectors desperately need a rank and file challenge to the status quo.
If, however, we have more than one rank and file candidate, then that will split the forces of the best fighters in the union. It is imperative that agreement is reached in Manchester on which candidate will stand. Every Unite activist needs to attend this important meeting.
United Left hustings, 12 noon, Saturday 5 September, Friends Meeting House, Manchester