VOTING PAPERS for the elections to the new national executive council for the Amicus union are now out. Amicus was created by the merger of the AEEU and MSF unions. The left is standing on a slate for the Amicus Unity Gazette. Election campaigning is well under way. The ballot closes on Friday of next week.
In the north west of England there has been even more enthusiasm for the campaign than when Derek Simpson defeated Tony Blair's favourite trade unionist, Sir Ken Jackson. The right seem to be relying on the official union machine. Supporters of the left have been talking to members. For over a week we've been out leafleting-covering over 50 key workplaces already.
The response has been excellent. People are surprised and pleased to see people keen enough to visit their workplace. Many say the union spends too much time listening to the government and employers, and should be listening to the members more.
In one hospital we had a very hostile reception-until we explained that we didn't agree with cosy 'partnerships' or the way the union had promoted the government's Agenda for Change pay deal. Many AEEU union stewards were keen to see a return to the election of full time officials, instead of the current system of top-down appointment.
IAN ALLINSON, Amicus Unity Gazette candidate
For more details go to www.amicusunitygazette.com
WORKERS AT the aerospace firm Shorts in Belfast held a sit-in and are threatening an all-out strike next week as they fight back over pay and cost-cutting.
The sit-in was sparked after management sent workers home for refusing to use an automated clocking system as part of their industrial action. Some 3,000 workers, members of the Amicus union, took part in the canteen sit-in. They were due to be joined in their boycott of the computerised system by members of the TGWU union from Saturday.
Shorts is owned by the Canadian multinational Bombardier. It says it wants to 'improve competitiveness'. Shorts is making the workers pay for this. The firm axed 600 jobs in May. But the workers' six month long dispute appears to be escalating.