Union elections

Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Ollie Moore, Charlotte Zalens, Peggy Carter and Gemma Short

On 16 June over 100 people attended a short-notice demonstration called at Brixton’s Ritzy cinema, in protest at the sacking of three trade union reps. Three reps for the Bectu union at the Ritzy were sacked for failing to report to management the contents of an email sent from a Bectu branch email address to members’ private emails, which mentioned actions that community supporters of cinema workers’ strikes planned to undertake. One other rep remains suspended and awaiting disciplinary.

Defend sacked cinema reps; Tube workers held back by the anti-union laws; fight at Forest Hill School continues; BA blacklisting workers; UoL security guards strike; Southern overtime ban; Unite sacks Coyne.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Dale Street and Gemma Short

After one-week strikes in Glasgow and London, PCS members in the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) Cardiff office are on strike 29 May — 2 June. 5-9 June, coinciding with the general election, PCS members will be on strike in the EHRC’s Manchester office.

EHRC strikers keep fighting; damning report on Unison election; Unison left wins in NEC elections; cinema workers strike again.

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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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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Trade Unions: 

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.

Issues and Campaigns: 

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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.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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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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