Broad lefts and rank-and-file groups

Unite general secretary: Stop Coyne!

For more debate and discussion about the Unite General Secretary election, see here. Nominations for the Unite the Union General Secretary election closed last week. All four candidates secured enough branch or workplace nominations for a place on the ballot paper. The minimum number needed was 172. Howard Beckett (Head of Unite’s Legal Department) had 328. Gerard Coyne (Unite West Midlands Regional Secretary until his dismissal in 2017) had 196, Sharon Graham (Head of Unite’s Organising Department) 349, and Steve Turner (Unite Assistant General Secretary) 525. Coyne is the candidate of the...

Unite the Union deadline is 7 June

Two of the four candidates seeking election as the next General Secretary of Unite the Union have already won enough branch nominations (175) to get on the ballot paper. Branches can add nominations until 7 June. Voting will be between 5 July and 23 August. Sharon Graham, head of the union’s Organising Department, announced her 175th nomination on 25 May. On 29 May Howard Beckett, head of the union’s Legal Department, announced that he had 231 nominations. Assistant General Secretary Steve Turner, backed by the union’s United Left (UL), had just 120 nominations (as of a tweet on 26 May), while...

PCS: we still need to transform the union

On a woefully low turnout of just 7.5% of members the ruling Left Unity (LU) group has secured a comprehensive victory in the elections for the National Executive (NEC) of the PCS civil service workers’ union (results announced 14 May). PCS will continue to be run by the same LU faction that has failed the membership for 18 years, but now minus the Socialist Party which was for most of those years central to that leadership and its failings. For many years the LU leadership has presided over defeat and retreat. It has lurched from inertia to belated, poorly prepared campaigns that treated the...

Unite election: a more critical approach needed

For debate and discussion about the election, see here. Sharon Graham is a very well-paid unelected trade union bureaucrat standing as “The Workers’ Candidate” in the Unite the Union General Secretary election now underway. That doesn't rule out supporting her. Two of her competitors (Steve Turner and Howard Beckett) are also very well-paid unelected trade union bureaucrats, and the very right-wing Gerard Coyne isn't one only because he was sacked after standing against Len McCluskey in the 2017 General Secretary election. It does suggest a more critical approach than that of Matt Dunn in...

NEU: a setback and advances

The National Education Union (NEU) Executive elections closed on 29 April. Disappointingly, Workers’ Liberty supporter and victimised rep Tracy McGuire lost the national support staff seat, after a vicious campaign by the misnamed “NEU Left”, who have been as determined to remove her from her Executive role as her employer was to sack her. This deprives the executive of a tenacious fighter for support staff. Tracy has fought to ensure the union fully represents support staff and develops into an industrial union. That is why the “NEU Left” fought so hard to remove her. However disgusting her...

Salford Unison pushes care workers' charter

Salford’s local government Unison branch was the first to win the right to full isolation pay for all care workers in their council area, a victory that triggered others in the North West. Now they have put a series of care workers’ demands to candidates in their local elections: 1. The Foundation Living Wage (currently £9.50/hour) for all Salford care workers. 2. Holiday pay based on normal wages. 3. Sleep-in pay at the Foundation Living Wage rate. 4. Occupational sick pay for all Salford care workers. 5. Publicly delivered social care. 6. A strong voice for workers, those in receipt of care...

Vote for "real change" in Unison

The ballot to elect the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the public services union Unison opens on 4 May 2021. The NEC is made up of representatives elected from Unison’s regions and service groups, plus seats for four Black members, two young members and two disabled members. After left candidate Paul Holmes (above) delivered a strong result in the general secretary election, the left in the union have the potential to make big gains in the NEC election. Unfortunately some of this may be squandered by the inability of much of the Unison left to cooperate. The previous electoral alliance...

DVLA strikes again 4-8 May (John Moloney's column)

Workers at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) complex in Swansea will strike again from 4-8 May. We’re continuing to fight there over the fact our members are being compelled to come into the workplace, in a way we believe is unsafe. The employer has made some concessions in negotiations, but these relate mainly to changes in the medium-term future, around greater provision for homeworking. We need action right now — centrally for all on-site working, except for emergency and absolutely essential work, to be suspended. We’re also demanding agreements that will give the union direct...

PCS: Vote Independent Left

Elections for the National Executive and other posts in the PCS civil service workers’ union this year run from 22 April to 12 May. The Independent Left grouping in the union, which in 2019 got John Moloney elected assistant general secretary, is running Bev Laidlaw for union president, and a number of candidates for the National Executive and other national positions. It is running a slate in the Department of Work and Pensions group elections, and backing the PCS Rank and File slate in the Revenue and Customs (HMRC) group. The Independent Left platform includes: “a real living wage as a...

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