Press release: Press release: Press release: Immediate 18/01/2013
Re-’new’ a mandate or a return to the bad old days in Unite General Secretary electionLast Wednesday 16th January, just another night and just another union meeting, or so we thought.
But this was the night of the Unite London Construction Branch meeting and on the agenda was the branch’s nomination of candidate for its General Secretary, and something was occurring.
Five minutes before the meeting was due to start an unusually large number of ‘unfamiliar faces’ turned up en masse to cast their vote in this, the first stage of the election caused by the current General Secretary Len McCluskey calling a snap election 3 years early in a bid to extend his period of office to the age of 67 in the UK’s biggest Union Unite.
The new faces had all come to vote for McCluskey but only four were actually entitled to, one of them even admitted that they had been told to attend the meeting to vote for McCluskey by his boss who was also at the meeting.
If this were an attempt by a construction employer to influence the decision of the it was to prove fruitless. For despite the obvious efforts to rig the outcome of the nomination the majority of branch members voted to back the only other declared candidate, rank & file member Jerry Hicks.
Jerry Hicks said “ It would have been funny if it were not so serious. And if it weren’t for the diligence of the Branch Secretary asking to see the ‘unfamiliar faces’ union cards, then the attempt to pervert democracy would have been successful.”
Jerry Hicks added “By calling a snap election, dragging it forward 3 years and fast tracking the nomination period McCluskey was probably hoping for an uncontested extension of office. Stopping me getting the 50 nominations needed to bring about the ballot of 1.5 million members would be a way of achieving that.”
The attempt to rig the vote has echoes of the past when in 2002 ‘unfamiliar faces’ attended branch meetings in order to nominate Sir Ken Jackson, a former General Secretary. The vote rigging scandal caused a furore at the time and led to the shock defeat of Jackson at the ballot box.
Jerry Hicks who was unlawfully dismissed by Rolls Royce seven years ago when he was convener of the Bristol Test facilities has since been cited in employers files uncovered as part of the blacklisting scandal, a case to be heard in the High Court sometime soon.
Ends:Notes to editor: Unite is the biggest union in the UK with 1.5 million members.
Unite is currently holding an election for its General Secretary in which there are only two candidates.
The nomination period began on the 1st January ending on 15th February. Each candidate requires 50 Branch Nominations to contest the election.
In 2010 Jerry Hicks secured 52,527 votes and beat 2 senior officials when runner up to McCluskey Jerry Hicks can be contacted by mobile 07817827912 or email email@example.com
For more information visit www.jerryhicks4gs.org