Members of the Unite union have just one week left to vote for their union’s general secretary. And rank and file candidate Jerry Hicks is calling on his supporters to campaign up until the last minute.
“We know that despite all our efforts 85 percent of members won’t have voted yet,” he told Socialist Worker. “And in a union the size of Unite that’s more than a million people.
“Wherever I go I meet workers who say they haven’t voted—but they haven’t thrown out their ballot paper either.”
Jerry’s campaign has seen him meeting ordinary workers across Britain. On Thursday it took him to Hartlepool.
“I spoke at a meeting of the construction branch,” he said. “They were the first branch to nominate me and get the ball rolling, and I’m proud to say they’d all voted for me.
“So they took leaflets to redouble their efforts on site.
“Before that I’d been round the hospital to talk to the pathology workers, the maintenance workers and others who are in Unite. They’re losing £3,000 or £4,000. Len McCluskey talks about defending the NHS with all our might—but when are we going to use that might? For me, that would mean strikes.”
Jerry put out a call for all his supporters to talk to as many workers as possible before the ballot closes next Friday.
“The other side have shown they’re worried about the votes we’ll get, and that should spur us on,” he said. “In the last election I surprised all the pollsters and pundits, and I can do it again.
“It’s also about the network we’re building. Every worker we talk to about the need for an alternative is a worker we’re in contact with for the future.”