Left wing activists are standing for General Secretary in Britain's two biggest trade unions. Paul Holmes is campaigning for the top job in public sector union Unison, while Jerry Hicks is standing for the leadership of the massive Unite union (formed from a merger of Amicus and the TGWU). Both campaigns offer a chance to put forward an alternative agenda to the unions' current passivity in the face of cuts and job losses. Here are appeals from both Paul Holmes and Jerry Hicks for support from grassroots members in their own unions.
'Paul Holmes's campaign is going from strength to strength with nominations from
a spread of branches including branches from Scotland and Wales and from across UNISON's service groups.
Branch meetings have started and the reactions have been fantastic. Paul has spoken in London, Huddersfield, Newcastle , Bolton and Norwich, and this week he will be speaking in Winchester, Leeds and Guildford.
Thanks to all those who have nominated Paul so far. Please make sure completed nomination forms go into firstname.lastname@example.org nice and early and chase up confirmations!
As Paul has said on his blog: "It is a real honour to go around meeting branch activists and ordinary members. It is also humbling to see the work that is being done on my behalf in the campaign. But it's not personal - it's about changing the union, not the personalities. One thing you learn going around Britain is that the problems the members have are all the same. The accents change but the problems don't. This campaign will make a difference."
Here's what Jerry Hicks says:
We are a year on from the election held in the Amicus section of Unite and, sadly, in my view we are in an even worse position than we were then. With the economy in tatters and our members in the firing line, the union continues to be run as a business and not a service.
Again and again members say they feel even more distant from the leadership and even more remote from decision making leaving them feeling both angry and vulnerable. Our members need and deserve a lot more from our union!
There is in my view a lack of clear, bold leadership in our union for which they, the leadership bear a collective responsibility for where we are and how we got here. They have either agreed with the decisions and direction of the union or have not being able or willing to change them...
Our campaign on the other hand is doing precisely what we promised and that is, involving and engaging, supporting and organising, with and for the members. These last few days and weeks especially, in that our latest leaflet which lots of our supporters have been taking to workplaces, is aimed at informing members of the GS election, the importance of it and where we stand...
Some of the issues I stand for:
· Election of all officials.
· Repeal of anti union laws and when necessary confront them.
· A General Secretary on an average members wage.
· Members decide while the union provides.
· Mergers that make us stronger not just bigger.
· Prioritise: Public ownership: Pensions: The creation of one million ‘Green’ jobs.
· Public works programme, first 3100 jobs offered to blacklisted construction workers
· Make the ‘Peoples charter’ happen.
I will be relying upon the generosity of individuals and the belief that collectively, when determined people come together ‘all things are possible’.
If you wish to help, want to know more, or make a donation please contact me by either of the following ways:
Or write to me at: 10 York Road, Montpelier, Bristol; BS6 5QE.
For more about information visit the campaign web site: www.jerryhicks4gs