The campaign to get blacklisted former rep Jerry Hicks onto the ballot paper of the Unite union’s general secretary election is steaming ahead.
Jerry wants to give Unite members a chance to vote for an alternative to current general secretary Len McCluskey. To do that he needs 50 Unite branches, workplaces and chapels to nominate him within the next few weeks.
So far more than 40 have been received with others in the post. Jerry said it was “tremendous” but that supporters should be “confident, not complacent”, partly as a number of the nominations will inevitably be ruled out.
“It’s important to get as many nominations as possible to get the best launchpad for the campaign proper,” he told Socialist Worker.
Jerry wants to see Unite lead resistance to attacks from the Tories and the bosses such as the almost daily announcements of job cuts in the private sector.
Just last week Unite members heard of massive job losses at Lloyds and Rolls Royce, the aerospace firm that used anti-union laws to sack Jerry in 2005.
“Rolls Royce is awash with orders and profits,” he said. “Unite needs to draw up a plan that can inspire the workers that they can fight for their jobs—that the bosses’ plan is not a done deal.”
Workers at the threatened plant in Ansty near Coventry supported Jerry in his own dispute and he is keen to return the solidarity. “That’s what a union is all about,” he said.
McCluskey has spoken out against Labour councils implementing the Tories’ cuts.
But Unite is Labour’s biggest donor—and Jerry says “actions speak louder than words”.
“What Unite says matters, but what it does matters more,” he said. “Those councillors who refuse to make cuts need the full backing of Unite.
“But Labour councils that do make cuts—such as Manchester, which is pushing through wholesale redundancies—should be condemned, instead of being given so much support and resources.
“We need ‘payment by results’ for councillors, MPs and the Labour party as a whole. If we don’t add that reality to the rhetoric then all we’re doing is wringing our hands.”
To support Jerry’s campaign go to www.jerryhicks4gs.org