The next few weeks are a great chance to turn Britain’s biggest union into a fighting and democratic organisation that can better resist the Tories’ attacks.
The nomination period for the Unite general secretary election ended last week. Rank and file candidate Jerry Hicks gained more than enough support to get on the ballot paper.
The election will take place between 25 October and 19 November and will see Jerry take on rightwinger Les Bayliss, as well as Gail Cartmail and Len McCluskey. All are full-time officials.
McCluskey is on the left but has followed the present leadership’s strategy, which has failed to resist the bosses’ attacks.
Unite members and activists need to pull out all the stops to win Jerry the biggest possible vote.
The right wing press is worried about Jerry’s campaign. The Sun ran an article last Saturday with the headline, “Militant Vows To Widen BA Strike.”
But Jerry’s fighting spirit is winning him support across the union. “My branch and workplace have both nominated Jerry,” Chrissie Gardner, the chair of Bristol health services branch, told Socialist Worker.
“Jerry spoke at the branch meeting and was well received which allowed some activists to move his nomination at work—University Hospitals Bristol.
“People at this meeting knew Jerry through his fight against victimisation at Rolls Royce and decided to back him.
“Now we’re going into battle with the election itself.
“We all have to get moving. I am planning to do a collection for the campaign, as it will be vital to get funds in.
“I hope to do a stall outside to raise awareness and recruit to the union.
“And the election campaign will also be a good opportunity to talk about the cuts we will face under the Tories and how we all have to stand together to beat them.”