DEREK SIMPSON, the left challenger to Sir Ken Jackson in the election for AEEU union leader, spoke to over 70 delegates at a fringe meeting before the start of MSF conference. 'Whoever wins the election will be the general secretary of the whole Amicus union,' he said.
Simpson was campaigning at the AEEU section conference that was also taking place in Blackpool last week. AEEU members are the only group eligible to vote in the election. 'Members are so dissatisfied at the way the union is out of touch over issues like PFI,' he said.
Derek shocked MSF members with his detailed description of Jackson's attacks on democracy in the union: 'They have taken away from the grassroots towards centralised control. The AEEU lay executive council runs the union. It is a nodding dog exercise. Jackson runs it through appointed full time officials who are not answerable to members.' He urged MSF members to help him build his election campaign.
'If we can carry our message to as many AEEU members as possible we have a chance of winning. MSF members can help my campaign. Try wherever you can to get literature to AEEU members. Many of you know and work with AEEU members-ask if they know of my campaign. The power of argument has already won over people.' London delegates handed over £741 they had raised for Simpson's campaign at a fundraiser.
Ray Morrell from BAe Systems said, 'There is a sea change going on in the labour movement with the election of left general secretaries like Bob Crow and Mark Serwotka. 'We need to make sure the over 100 nominations for Derek to stand in the election are turned into votes. We have to get outside factories and workplaces catching shift changes so we can give out leaflets. There is less than two weeks to Monday 24 June before the ballot papers arrive at people's homes. There must be thousands of AEEU members who are sick of what Jackson has done.'
Contact Derek for leaflets and posters. Phone 0114 236 1419 or 07803 922 096, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
TGWU election: another blow against Blair
TONY Woodley's victory in the election for the TGWU union's deputy general secretary was another blow against Tony Blair. Woodley, the union's car industry negotiator, beat Peter Booth, a manufacturing industry official, by 77,825 votes to 55,032. The Blairites jumped behind Booth.
'The result shows the mood in the TGWU, as it is in other unions, is that people expect their unions to fight for them,' said Woodley. 'It is a vote for change, for the start of a new era in the mighty TGWU.' His victory puts Woodley in a strong position to challenge the government's pro-business agenda.
But although his victory is a blow to Blair, Woodley does not have a good record of fighting. He was the union's negotiator when thousands of jobs were lost at Ford in Dagenham and Vauxhall in Luton.
Rank and file TGWU members cannot rely on Woodley, and will have to continue to fight.