Socialist Worker

Back John Burgess for general secretary

by Karen Reissmann, Unison NEC member (personal capacity)
Issue No. 2466

The Unison union has opened nominations for the election of a new general secretary.

This is an important election—what sort of leadership trade unions have at the moment matters given what the Tories have planned.

The vast majority of Unison members feel let down by the current leadership after the action over pensions and then pay. 

The members’ mood to fight has been squandered.

We need a serious challenge to Dave Prentis’s leadership. 

Now we have the opportunity to support a candidate that all the left can get behind.

John Burgess, secretary of Barnet branch in London, has put his name forward and we are in a position to win support from many in the union who want to elect a new leadership.

The fact that a special conference in March carried votes of criticism of the current leadership shows the huge possibilities for a successful left election campaign.


We need to capitalise on that mood and seize the opportunity to field a united left candidate.

Manchester local government branch has decided to nominate John.

The fact that Heather Wakefield is standing—another candidate who has been part of the union bureaucracy—means there is an even better opening for the left.

We should get behind John—he will be a candidate who will stand up against racism, sexism and homophobia. He has shown he is willing to lead a fight. 

Barnet branch has put up a sustained resistance against a vicious employer. 

Unison activists should get their branch to nominate John. Nominations are open between 2 September and 9 October. 

Voting will take place between 9 November and 4 December.

For more infomation and get involved in the campaign go to

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