The Socialist 19 November 2008
‘We’re not taking these job cuts’
Unite/Amicus general secretary election
The nomination period for the general secretary election in the Amicus section of Unite has opened. This was necessary following a challenge made by sacked and victimised Rolls-Royce convenor Jerry Hicks to the trade union certification officer.
His challenge was that the rules drawn up when Unite was formed should not have allowed Derek Simpson, the current Amicus general secretary, to stay in office beyond his 65th birthday without further election.
In the previous election in 2002, Simpson was the candidate of the left, but since then he has moved to the right and has been a centre of controversy. He recently likened the TGWU section's organising unit to the Nazi SS!
Two candidates have emerged asking for the left's support. Laurence Faircloth, the south-west regional secretary, has won the support of the Amicus Unity Gazette group. While promising action on speeding up the amalgamation process, he has no record as a left in the union and previously stood as a right-wing candidate for the union's executive.
Jerry Hicks is also standing. A former SWP member, he is now in Respect Renewal. In his flyer to members, he is calling for, amongst other demands, the repeal of all anti-union legislation, a public ownership programme opposing privatisation of jobs and services and a programme of building affordable council homes for rent.
Inside the union, he supports the election of all officers of the union, has pledged that he will only draw an average skilled member's wage if elected and would pursue a merger strategy to increase lay-member democracy.
Jerry has not called for disaffiliation of the union from the Labour Party but wants 'slavish support for the Brown government' to end. He would only support candidates in local or national elections that pledge to support the union's policies.
Socialist Party members in Amicus were disappointed that Jerry did not attend the Gazette selection meeting.
Some of those at the Gazette meeting had also attended Simpson's breakaway meeting a few weeks' previously so their 'left' credentials are unclear.
The fact that Faircloth has no left record should have encouraged Jerry to seek Gazette support. Anyway, his campaign could revitalise the left organisations by showing what a fighting left campaign could achieve.
So Socialist Party members in Unite are supporting Jerry Hicks' campaign for election.
The ballot, for which nominations start immediately, will take place in February and March next year.
In this issue
No Job Cuts
Post office closures
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis