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From The Socialist newspaper, 19 November 2008

Unite/Amicus general secretary election

The nomination period for the general secretary election in the Amicus section of Unite has opened. This was necessary following a challenge made by sacked and victimised Rolls-Royce convenor Jerry Hicks to the trade union certification officer.

His challenge was that the rules drawn up when Unite was formed should not have allowed Derek Simpson, the current Amicus general secretary, to stay in office beyond his 65th birthday without further election.

In the previous election in 2002, Simpson was the candidate of the left, but since then he has moved to the right and has been a centre of controversy. He recently likened the TGWU section's organising unit to the Nazi SS!

Two candidates have emerged asking for the left's support. Laurence Faircloth, the south-west regional secretary, has won the support of the Amicus Unity Gazette group. While promising action on speeding up the amalgamation process, he has no record as a left in the union and previously stood as a right-wing candidate for the union's executive.

Jerry Hicks is also standing. A former SWP member, he is now in Respect Renewal. In his flyer to members, he is calling for, amongst other demands, the repeal of all anti-union legislation, a public ownership programme opposing privatisation of jobs and services and a programme of building affordable council homes for rent.

Inside the union, he supports the election of all officers of the union, has pledged that he will only draw an average skilled member's wage if elected and would pursue a merger strategy to increase lay-member democracy.

Jerry has not called for disaffiliation of the union from the Labour Party but wants 'slavish support for the Brown government' to end. He would only support candidates in local or national elections that pledge to support the union's policies.

Socialist Party members in Amicus were disappointed that Jerry did not attend the Gazette selection meeting.

Some of those at the Gazette meeting had also attended Simpson's breakaway meeting a few weeks' previously so their 'left' credentials are unclear.

The fact that Faircloth has no left record should have encouraged Jerry to seek Gazette support. Anyway, his campaign could revitalise the left organisations by showing what a fighting left campaign could achieve.

So Socialist Party members in Unite are supporting Jerry Hicks' campaign for election.

  • To nominate Jerry, branches need his membership details. They are: Mr J R Hicks, 10 York Road, Montpelier, Bristol, BS6 5QE. Membership number: 31247909. Branch: Bristol General 1046
  • The ballot, for which nominations start immediately, will take place in February and March next year.

    Kevin Parslow

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    In The Socialist 19 November 2008:


    No Job Cuts

    'We're not taking these job cuts'

    Programme of action to fight unemployment is needed

    JCB: Pay cuts haven't saved our jobs!


    Post office closures

    U-turn over post office card account

    Stroud post office saved!

    Coventry fights post office closure

    Lewisham housing: Arguments against privatisation win

    Fast news


    Socialist Party workplace news

    Drop the witch-hunt in Unison fight to Defend trade union democracy

    Scotland: Unison local government: Close vote on pay

    Dover port workers strike

    Unite/Amicus general secretary election

    In brief


    International socialist news and analysis

    World food crisis: A systemic failure of capitalism

    Democratic republic of Congo: Civil war erupts once again

    G20 conference: Summit for nothing

    USA: Challenging the two parties of big business

    First ever all-Germany school students' strike

    Eyewitness report: Italian students occupy


    Socialist Students

    Student democracy under attack

    Privatisation = FE college students suffer


    Interviews

    Social workers say: investment needed

    Sacked for being pregnant!


     

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