Union elections

McCluskey only just re-elected

Author: 

Ann Field

Gerard Coyne — the candidate of the right, backed not just by the right-wing media but also by the most right-wing elements of the Labour Party — came within 5,500 votes of being elected the new General Secretary of Unite the Union.

McCluskey got 59,000 votes (45.5%); Coyne 53,500 (41.5%); and rank-and-file candidate Ian Allinson 17,000 (13%). McCluskey was re-elected, but in every other respect the election result was a major setback for McCluskey and the trade union politics which he represents.

The dominant left culture within Unite has an excessive focus on elections. There is nothing wrong with wanting to win elections. The problem arises when political life degenerates into electioneering at the expense of rebuilding grassroots organisation at branch and workplace level.

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Dodgy general secretary election?

On Friday 17 March, an Employment Appeal Tribunal judge overturned the decision of the Certification Officer to reject a complaint against the GMB bureaucracy, brought by GMB member Keith Henderson.

Keith had complained that a misinterpretation and misapplication of the rules had prevented him or any other rank-and-file member from standing in the 2015 GMB General Secretary election. Among other things he claimed by-law 13 had been misinterpreted and misapplied to prevent potential nominees from contacting branches to seek nomination.

The GMB Grassroots Left has been setup to challenge the GMB unelected or barely elected leadership on behalf of GMB members.

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Re-elect Len McCluskey!

Author: 

Ann Field

Ballot papers for Unite the Union’s General Secretary and national Executive Council elections have been sent out to the union’s 1.4 million members. Voting runs to 19 April, and the result will be out on 28 April.

West Midlands Unite full-timer Gerard Coyne is the right-wing challenger to Len McCluskey, the incumbent General Secretary seeking re-election for a third time. Ian Allinson is also standing as the candidate of rank-and-file democracy.

Unite members should vote for Len McCluskey in the General Secretary election. But that is no more than the first stage of the campaign needed.

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Ian Allinson — an inconsistent critic

Author: 

Dale Street

Ian Allinson is standing as “an experienced workplace activist”, “the grassroots socialist candidate”, and “the only candidate who knows first-hand the experiences and frustrations of our members”. By contrast, writes Allinson, Len McCluskey and Gerard Coyne have both been “been paid officials of Unite for many years.” McCluskey stands for “more of the same” and Coyne stands for “turning the clock back”.

An assessment of Ian Allinson’s campaign to become Unite General Secretary.

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McCluskey moves ahead, but not left

Author: 

Dale Street

In the election campaigning for the post of Unite the Union’s General Secretary, the McCluskey election machine continues to deliver the goods.

With a while still to go before nominations close on 17 February, over 300 branches have nominated Len McCluskey, who has been general secretary since 2011 but has stood down early so he could run for a third term. A statement supporting McCluskey has been signed by 60 out of 64 Executive Council members and a similarly overwhelming majority on other top levels of the union.

The slick campaign being run for Len McCluskey conceals a number of problems, including the gap which separates McCluskey’s election rhetoric from reality, and the gap between McCluskey’s policies and the policies which Unite should be championing.

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Unite: danger of ring-wing swing under Coyne

Author: 

Dale Street

By the end of January Len McCluskey had secured 180 nominations in his bid to remain Unite General Secretary. Ian Allinson, standing on a platform of rank-and-file democracy, had 19 nominations. Gerard Coyne, the candidate of the right, has not publicised how many nominations he has picked up.

Despite being a highly-paid member of the Unite bureaucracy, Gerard Coyne is masquerading as an "anti-establishment" candidate in the union's General Secreatary election.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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Unite general secretary election: don't let Coyne close down the Labour revival!

We should vote for Len McCluskey in the Unite general secretary election for which nominations open on 16 January because it is a first-past-the-post poll, and without left-wing votes going to McCluskey there is a real risk Gerard Coyne will win.

Coyne is heavily backed by the Labour right wing around Tom Watson and Progress. If he wins, he will swing Unite decisively to the anti-Corbyn camp. That could close down all the openings for Labour revival opened by Jeremy Corbyn's leadership victories.

Vote Coyne, and get Watson and Progress: that's the deal.

A Coyne victory could close down the openings for Labour revival opened by Jeremy Corbyn's leadership victories.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Gemma Short, Ollie Moore,Simon Nelson and Peggy Carter

Workers at the Ritzy Picturehouse cinema in Brixton struck on Friday 7 October, and will strike again on Saturday 15 October. The Ritzy cinema was completely shut down by the strike, and films due to be shown as part of the London Film Festival moved to other venues.

Picturehouse cinema strikes spread; Southern workers strike again; #Unisongate hearings to start; Hackney traffic wardens fight for unsocial pay; Sheffield bin workers strike.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Neil Laker, Peggy Carter, Ollie Moore, Darren Bedford and Charlotte Zalens

In March, the University of Manchester announced plans to restructure its subsidiary company, UMC, making 46 redundancies in catering while moving the remaining staff on to “term-time only” contracts.

This latter move would have meant cuts of about one third to their total pay. But now, as a result of solid negotiating by Unison, and agitation, occupations and disruption by students, management have backed down. There will be no compulsory redundancies, no loss of hours and no pay cuts.

Manchester University catering staff win; lecturers strike; rail workers’ disputes spread; CalMac ferries stay public; Glen Hart reinstated; left makes gains in PCS.

Around the world: 

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Ruth Cashman, Lambeth Unison (personal capacity), Peggy Carter and Ollie Moore

As the returning officer report about the Unison general secretary election is published, more leaks have shown the level of corruption inside Unison.

Prentis was re-elected general secretary of Unison on a tiny turn-out of 9.8%, an incredibly diminished vote, and with allegations of union staff campaigning for him against the rules of the union. A report by the returning officer report was due out on 10 January, but was published five weeks late.

More Unison corruption leaks; librarians plan more strikes; FE college workers strike over pay; Tube drivers and DLR balloted for strikes

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