The crucial elections for the national executive of Unite, Britain’s biggest union, are to begin on Friday.
More than one million members are entitled to vote in elections that will decide the make up of the executive for the next three years.
This follows the election of left winger Len McCluskey as the union’s new general secretary last year.
Socialist Worker supporters are standing as part of the United Left group. United Left candidates are clear about the need for an executive that is willing and able to take on and beat the Tories.
“The vote for general secretary was to the left,” said Brett Davis, who is standing in the Ministry of Defence and government departments section.
“Len McCluskey won, while rank and file candidate Jerry Hicks, who Socialist Worker supported, came second.
“There is a real need for an executive that will take on the Tories. We need co-ordinated action across the unions to get rid of the government.
“People in my sector need someone with a track record of fighting back. I helped organise a 1,000 strong demonstration against cuts in Shrewsbury, and the coaches to the 26 March demonstration from Shropshire.”
Jane Stewart, who is standing in the women’s seat, told Socialist Worker, “With the austerity measures disproportionately affecting women more than men we need to be laying out an alternative to the cuts.
“We should be investing in infrastructure and taxing the rich. We need to build up a head of steam after this Saturday’s demonstration to stop the Tories.”
“The union is facing the challenge of resisting job cuts in manufacturing, finance and the public sector,” said Frank Wood, who is standing for an NHS seat.
“With the attacks on the NHS, the executive members have to support any struggles to defend the service. “The United Left candidates have a strong record of doing this.
“Unite supported the recent Day X for the NHS protest in London.
“We are also working hard to mobilise for the 26 March demonstration and the TUC day for the NHS on 1 April.”
Unfortunately, seven candidates for the Grassroots Left, a group that came out of Jerry Hicks’s campaign last year, are standing in the elections.
Socialist Worker believes it would have been better for them to have challenged to be United Left candidates, as some Socialist Worker supporters successfully did.
Unite members must mobilise to get the biggest possible vote for the United Left to beat the right wing candidates and show the mood for a fightback among the grassroots of the union.
For more information, including a list of candidates, go to http://unitedleft.org.uk