Socialist Worker

‘Hit the ground running to get John Burgess elected’ as Unison general secretary

by Raymie Kiernan
Issue No. 2478

John Burgess

John Burgess (Pic: Duncan Brown)

Voting in the Unison union general secretary election opens on Monday of next week—and activists are launching a left wing challenge to incumbent Dave Prentis.

Prentis has failed to lead a fight against Tory austerity.

Heather Wakefield, another candidate, is complicit in last year’s sellout over pay in local government.

Socialist Worker supports John Burgess (pictured, right) for general secretary.

He is branch secretary of Barnet Unison in north London and has led resistance to austerity and privatisation.

“This union needs a general secretary from the rank and file,” Sandwell joint branch secretary Sharon Campion told Socialist Worker.

The biggest local government branch in the union, Birmingham, is one of 68 branches backing John.

His widespread support can lay the basis for rebuilding left organisation in Unison.

Nick Ruff is branch chair of Kirklees Unison in Yorkshire.

He said, “We’ve prepared lists of all the workplaces we’re going to target.

“We have to hit the ground running. Activists need to think about who they know in the Unison workplaces around them and how to get leaflets in.”

Barnet Unison branch chair Helen Davies told Socialist Worker, “We’ve had a great response to fundraising so far and 150,000 leaflets are out around the regions.

“Can you help fund the next 150,000?”

Workers spoke in a personal capacity. To make a donation online and find out more about how you can help John’s campaign go to

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