One year. two elections: keep more than an eye on both
Next year will see two elections. Both are likely to be defining moments. The General Election and the election for General Secretary of the country’s biggest trade union ‘Unite’.
Jerry Hicks whose successful legal challenge last year forced an election in the Amicus section of Unite has, after being urged by many, decided to stand again.
He is deeply critical of Unite’s failure to protect its members despite the tens of £millions having been handed over to the Labour Government during what he says are the ‘squandered / wasted years’, meaning the 3 terms of Labour in office.
He also argues that fundamental change is needed in the union’s relationship with New Labour which he describes as being – too close – too cosy – paying too much – for far too little. £13 million of members’ money has been donated since 2005. While supporting over 100 Labour MPs, not even the basic right to re-instatement when unfairly dismissed has been achieved. ‘The returns have been pitiful’.
The union opposes PFI hospitals as well as academy schools yet we are ignored. We demand better pensions yet we have the second lowest state pension in Europe. We should support only MPs or councillors, current / prospective, who support our policies.
Whoever wins the next election, cuts and attacks are staring every workplace, every union member in the face.
Gordon Brown has said Labour would legislate to halve the deficit. £75bn in cuts and even more Privatisation. Nick Clegg the Liberal leader said they would make savage cuts. George Osborne the Tory shadow chancellor boasted that within 3 months of being in office they would be the most unpopular Government since the 2nd World War.
Given the size and make up of Unite, it makes the election for the union’s General Secretary the most significant union election for decades.
Jerry Hicks has been highly critical as to the wages of the General Secretary. He said “Fat cats in the city are rightly despised, just as MPs who are a world away from reality. Why have a ‘Fat cat’ General Secretary in our union with remuneration in excess of £130,000 living a lifestyle nothing like that of our members.” This will end, if elected he would only take the average wage of a skilled worker. This is certain to strike a chord, as none of the other candidates are likely to say the same.
Jerry Hicks said “Our union leadership, many of whom will seek to become the General Secretary have been unable to face up to Labour. Can our members be sure they can stand up to the Tories if they get in?”
Ends: Notes for Editors: Unite is not only the country’s biggest Trade Union it’s also the biggest single donator to the Labour Party. Jerry Hicks will most likely be the only candidate who is not a senior official of the union. This was also the case last time, however he secured support from every region and sector of the union, coming second, within touching distance of incumbent General Secretary Derek Simpson who will not be standing this time round. Jerry Hicks is thought by many to be a possible winner.
Jerry Hicks can be contacted on Tel: 078 178 279 12 Visit www.jerryhicks4gs.com