BALLOT PAPERS will start going out next week for elections to the national executive of Britain's biggest union, Unison. The union has members in local councils, the health service, schools, higher and further education, as well as in areas like the gas, water and electricity industries.
The vote takes place against the background of political turmoil over the war and domestic issues from privatisation to pay and the union's links with Labour. Voting closes on 20 May. The United Left organisation is putting up a broad list of candidates which deserves active backing and support across the union. The bigger the vote for them the more it will strengthen the resistance on every front.
Jon Rogers is Unison branch secretary in Lambeth, south London. He is standing for the United Left for a seat on the executive. 'I want to part of a national executive which fights hard for Unison members,' he says. 'As a Labour Party member and a socialist I know that we can't rely on New Labour. We need a stronger Unison to fight for our rights.'
Mandy Berger from Camden, north London, is also a United Left candidate for the executive. She says, 'My members are sick of a New Labour government that privatises more than the Tories, bullies the firefighters and would rather bankroll war than invest in public services. We need a national leadership that will tell Labour that the days of a blank cheque from our union are over.'
Back these candidates:
- National additional members: Beatrice Belgrave (City of Plymouth branch, standing for female seat); Raph Parkinson (Liverpool City, male seat).
- Health care service group: Kate Ahrens (Leicestershire Health, standing for one of two female seats); Margaret Bean (North Glasgow Hospitals, for one of two female seats);Adrian O'Malley (Wakefield and Pontefract Hospitals, male seat); Mark New (Dudley Hospitals, general seat).
- Higher education service group: Sam Birnie (London Metropolitan, female seat); Andrew Beech (Liverpool John Moores, male seat).
- Local government service group: Caroline Johnson (Birmingham, female seat); Rahul Patel (Westminster, male seat); Glenn Kelly (Bromley, general seat).
- Transport service group: Tony Wilson (GMPTE, general seat).
Regional seats: Eastern: Liz Brennan (Cambridge City, female seat); East Midlands: Jean Thorpe (Nottingham City, female seat); John Owen (Derbyshire County, male seat); Ann MacMillan Wood (Derbyshire County, reserved seat); Greater London: Fiona Monkman (Islington, for one of two female seats); Amanda Berger (Camden, for one of two female seats); Jon Rogers (Lambeth, male seat); Northern: Yunus Bakhsh (Newcastle City Health, male seat); Maria Alberts (Gateshead Health); North West: Frances Kelly (South Manchester Hospitals, general seat); Karen Reissmann (Manchester Community and Mental Health, female seat); Roger Bannister (Knowsley, male seat); Carol Duttin (Liverpool City, reserved seat); Scotland: Margaret Dunbar (Glasgow Health, female seat); Southern: Jessie Russel (Southampton District, female seat); South West: Rachel Atherton (Gloucester City, female seat); Phil Jones (Gloucester City, male seat); West Midlands: Luke Henderson (Birmingham, male seat); Esmie Reid (Birmingham, reserved seat); Yorkshire and Humberside: Helen Jenner (Leeds, one of two female seats); Cath McGurk (Kirklees, one of two female seats); Doug Wright (Doncaster, male seat).