The Socialist 11 February 2000
Oppose Far Right Menace!
Bannister rocks UNISON leadership
ROGER BANNISTER'S campaign in the UNISON general secretary election is rocking the confidence of the national full-time officials and the establishment candidate Dave Prentis.
This week's Sunday Times commented, referring to Kilfoyle's resignation as a junior minister and Roger's chances of winning the UNISON leadership that: "To lose a minister may be a misfortune, but to lose an entire union would be carelessness indeed. This morning, however, the prime minister is in such a position."
The Independent reported in a similar vein: "Roger Bannister, expelled from the Labour Party in 1986 for his support of the Militant Tendency [Militant was The Socialist's predecessor], could become general secretary of UNISON, the public service union with 1.3 million members, Labour's biggest single financial backer."
The Socialist has been contacted by others who confirm that the right-wing feel Roger is ahead and they are desperate to provoke a last-minute 'red scare'.
Roger has never hidden his socialist policies, or his record in fighting for the rights and living standards of ordinary UNISON members.
It is these policies and his pledge to forego the £74,000 general secretary's salary and live on the average wage of a UNISON member which has attracted votes. This is particularly so where UNISON members have seen the Campaign for a Fighting Democratic UNISON (CFDU) election material or heard Roger speak.
The predicted low turnout is likely because of the cynicism ordinary members feel about the existing national leadership.
The ballot closes on 18 February. All local government, health, utility and education workplaces where there are UNISON members should be contacted and leafleted in the next few days. Only a minority have voted so far, many more will support the idea of a fighting general secretary on a worker's wage.
· For election material, ring Glenn Kelly on 020 7251 8449
· Roger Bannister will be on Radio Four's Westminster programme at 10pm on 13 February.
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