Blacklisting of workers is a ‘national scandal’. And the scandal is that it has gone on for so long and not enough was done by those shouting the loudest now.
Millions of people would be forgiven for thinking that the illegal
blacklisting of over 3,000 construction workers has suddenly been
discovered. Yet it has been the worst kept secret for over two decades
that those who spoke up with concerns for Health and Safety on
construction sites or defended wages and conditions were punished and
Brave people paid a heavy price as each year, each month, each day
brought more discrimination - more lives were being wrecked, houses lost
to repossession, stress induced ill health, heart attacks and even
It was more than 3 years ago in 2009 when the Information Commissioner's
Office (ICO) raided the offices of the Consultancy Association and
found the illegal records of files kept on 3,200 workers. Ian Kerr was
fined a paltry £5,000 for storing information contrary to the Data
Protection Act. To add insult to injury, the fine was paid not by Mr
Kerr but by the employers who had enlisted his services.
Then last year before he met with his untimely death Ian Kerr ‘spilled
the beans’ when he gave evidence to the Scottish Select Committee.
Jerry Hicks, who is on the illegal blacklist, says, “There are those
that liken this to the ‘phone hacking’ scandal, but I believe this has
more similarities to the Jimmy Saville scandal. How many institutions
knew or suspected? How many employers outside of the contributors knew?
How many MPs suspected or knew? How many union officials suspected or
knew and perhaps benefited? What and how much did the police know?”
Why the lack of effective action? Why has it been left to the determined
struggle of the Blacklisting Support Group along with some very
courageous people already on the list to expose the abuses and attempt
to redress the wrongs and bring those responsible to book?
As a spokesperson for the Information Commissioner’s Office rightly
pointed out to today’s outcry from trade union leaders, “Where were the
unions 3 years ago?”
Jerry Hicks, the only challenger in the current election for Unite
General Secretary, said “The union had the perfect opportunity to
confront blacklisting employers. The Olympics could have, should have
been the time and the vehicle to take on and defeat the blacklist, It
would have propelled the abuse into the national news. It was an
Back in 2010, Jerry Hicks was among those protesting at the Olympic site
over workers failing to find employment there. At the same time, trade
union leaders at the TUC conference only a mile away made speeches about
the need for ‘civil unrest’, yet not one of them came to the protest.
It would seem that some band standing is going on here. After all, who
spoke out the loudest or even at all during those long grim years?
Labour in office? Unite’s leadership?
Jerry Hicks pointed out “Two years ago during the last election for the
top job in the UK’s biggest Union I was the only one of four candidates
that made blacklisting in construction an issue and to promise to
redress the wrongs – both in my campaign and election address. Mr
McCluskey and Ms Cartmail - also candidates - chose not to mention it.
They obviously had other priorities. Perhaps for them it has only just
become a National Scandal.”
Now there is another election on for Unite’s General Secretary, it
having been called ‘out of the blue’, brought forward 3 years and fast
To many it seemed as though it would go uncontested, allowing McCluskey
to extend his term of office without actually going to the members. But
Jerry Hicks has challenged and is well on his way to securing the 50
branch nominations required to force the ballot of 1.5 million members.
Jerry Hicks said “There are two candidates, one on the blacklist who has
always spoken out and acted against it and one who decides to shout
about it now it has hit the headlines. In life everything is about
timing. I have my views as to why Mr McCluskey has chosen now, but I
leave it to you to draw your own conclusion.”
He [Jerry Hicks] added “Labour ‘shadow business minister’ Chukka Ummna
is now calling for an investigation into allegations that firms involved
in major projects, including the Olympics and Crossrail, blacklisted
workers. Great! But why wait until in opposition? What did Labour do
during its 3 terms and 13 years in government? As every year went by
demands for justice went unanswered, while trade unions poured money
into their coffers.”
Unite’s General Secretary Len McCluskey calls for a “Leveson-style
enquiry” which is correct but also an easy demand now that it has
already hit the headlines. Why didn’t the Unite leadership maximise the
opportunities that previously came their way to highlight the abuse?
Assistant General Secretary Gail Cartmail, who openly supports Len
McCluskey in his election campaign, described the 40 or so guilty firms
on Radio 5 Live as - “an industry in denial, failing even to
apologise”. She is right.
However it’s not just employers that Unite officials can be hard on. In
2011 when 8 construction companies gave notice of unilateral withdrawal
from a national agreement ‘BESNA’, 500 Unite electricians took matters
into their own hands, met, agreed and embarked on a year long campaign
of protests and unofficial actions which proved to be a very successful
strategy. Official backing did eventually come ‘better late than never’. But Unite’s initial response to this campaign beggars belief.
In an email to Gail Cartmail copied to every Unite construction official
and some staff, the National Officer for Construction Bernard McAuley
began “Good morning Gail, in reference to our conversation last night”
and went on to spew his bile at those very same members of the union
describing them as a ‘cancerous group’, ‘opportunists’, ‘mindless
individuals’ and mentioned Jerry Hicks by name.
When he received this email fourth hand, Jerry Hicks challenged this
outrageous and libelous diatribe and its wide circulation. No formal
apology ever came nor condemnation, and both officials are still
responsible for ‘looking after’ construction members. It is easy to see
how by design or carelessness names can appear on blacklists.
Legal action is being taken on behalf of a number of construction
workers, who are seeking compensation for having their names on the
blacklist. But shamefully this, the only major court case, is a private
case brought by the workers themselves and not funded by Unite. It has
been left to the good offices of Guney, Clark & Ryan to take legal
action on behalf of the construction workers.
Just as the blacklist was more than just rumoured for years, so was the
possible involvement of some union officials in supplying information to
the consultancy agency. A Leveson-style enquiry that Len McCluskey now
calls for, may embarrassingly prove if union officials were involved,
where internal union investigations have failed in the past to find
Jerry Hicks said “In life, chances to really make a difference come and
go. The Vestas occupation on the Isle of Wight was one. It was wasted, I
believe the best chance to save the Remploy factories would have been
protests and occupations during the Paralympics but that chance went
begging. There will be other chances to fight injustice and the Con-Dem
cuts but who will recognise them and act and who will inspire people to
believe that big victories are possible?”
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, Jerry Hicks and Len
Jerry Hicks was runner up in Unite's General Secretary election
of 2010 beating two senior national officials and securing 52,527 votes.
He can be contacted by mobile 07817827912 or email email@example.com
Anyone who believes they may be affected by
the Consulting Association Blacklist should first contact the
Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) on 0303 123 1113.
If you find you are on the list, you should immediately contact Guney
Clark & Ryan Solicitors (GCR) on 02072757788 between 8am and 8pm.
GCR have been representing innocent blacklisted workers in their fight
against the major construction giants since 2009, and have over 100
clients on board already. Most importantly, GCR and the barristers they
have instructed (led by Hugh Tomlinson QC) are working under a
Conditional Fee Agreement (no-win-no-fee type arrangement) and have
insured the case with QBE Insurance.
Anyone who contacts GCR can be assured of their confidentiality and
professionalism, and that the call will be on an obligation-free basis.
2012 –A year in blacklisting:
Power to the
Blacklisting support group
Electricians take industrial action in Scotland, Wales, North East, North
West and London to make blacklisting a central issue of the ongoing BESNA
Reel News release Blacklisted 2012 video
Smith v Carillion Employment Tribunal – 400 pages of unredacted documents
come into the public domain after being used as evidence in the court case.
The company provide a written statement admitting that their managers
supplied the information on the blacklist file because of union activity
and for raising safety concerns. ICO admit in evidence that “information on
some blacklist files could only have been supplied by the police or the
security services”. Carillion win the Tribunal because worker was employed
via an agency and not directly employed by the blacklisting firms.
First ever joint legal meeting to discuss blacklisting arranged by the
Blacklist Support Group takes place at Old Square Chambers co-chaired by
Professor Keith Ewing and John Hendy QC – over 20 QCs, barristers and
solicitors discuss High Court, European Court of Human Rights and
Employment Tribunal strategies.
John McDonnell MP demands a public inquiry into blacklisting following
evidence about security services involvement.
Professor Charles Woolfson announces he was blacklisted for raising
concerns about safety issues in the North Sea after the Piper Alpha
Guney Clark & Ryan solicitors start High Court proceedings on behalf of
blacklisted workers by issuing pre-action letters
300 electricians carrying “End the Blacklist” banners blockade Park Lane
rush-hour traffic outside ECA awards dinner as part of the increasingly
hostile sparks dispute. Ken Livingstone (speaker at the event) tells the
crowd that blacklisting firms should not be granted publicly funded
contracts. The very next day lead blacklisting firm Balfour Beatty withdraw
from BESNA. Electricians now target blacklisting firm NG Bailey at Morrison
supermarkets across the UK. A few days later the entire BESNA proposals
collapse - Victory to the sparks!!
The Observer newspaper runs front page lead article on police link to
blacklist. Steve Hedley (RMT Assistant General Secretary) is featured in
Blacklisting appears across the press including Radio 2 Jeremy Vine
phone-in plus media coverage in the USA, Russia and Australia.
John McDonnell MP and Michael Meacher MP both raise the call for a public
inquiry with Home Secretary, Teresa May.
Tony Jones blacklisting Employment Tribunal takes place in Manchester
against *Carillion** *and their recruitment agency *SkyBlue**, *Crown
House, Emcor, *Phoenix** *and the employment agency *Beaver Management.
Steve Acheson blacklisting claim ET against Data Dimension takes place on
the same day in the courtroom next door. Both cases are supported by UNITE
Blacklist Support Group holds meetings in Manchester and Westminster
Guney Clark & Ryan solicitors submit papers for High Court claim against
David Cameron forced to respond to John McDonnell MP questioning about
blacklisting at Prime Minister’s Questions.
Glenis Willmott MEP (Labour leader in Europe) raises issue of blacklisting
in written question to European Commission.
Judge Brain written decision throws out Tony Jones ET case for being “out
of time” as the blacklisting incidents took place many years ago (even
though evidence only came to light once the blacklist files were released).
Carillion under fire from GMB at Swindon Hospital as Liz Keates, head of
Human Resources and part of the cover-up of bullying, racism and corruption
charges by 100 low-paid Goan NHS staff is outed as a blacklister of union
Scottish Affairs Select Committee chaired by Ian Davidson MP launches
parliamentary investigation into blacklisting at Westminster – Maria Fyfe
MP is first witness with historical examples from the campaign against the
Economic League in the 1980s.
UCATT Conference passes motion on blacklisting calling for a public inquiry
and tougher laws. Roy Bentham, Steve Acheson and Tony O’Brien speak about
blacklisting at Construction Safety Campaign and Justice for Shrewsbury
Pickets fringe meetings.
600 construction workers walk out at Ratcliffe Power Station in Nottingham
in solidarity with Jason Poulter, victimised safety rep and leading UNITE
activist during the BESNA dispute. Jason Poulter is reinstated the next
GMB Conference launches a major report “*BLACKLISTING - illegal corporate
bullying endemic, systemic and deep-rooted in Carillion and other companies*"
and passes a motion on blacklisting calling for a public inquiry and
blacklisting firms to be stripped of publicly funded contracts. Swindon
strikers and Blacklist Support Group speak at official fringe meeting.
Steve Acheson moves successful motion at UNITE Conference calling for
industrial action, a public inquiry and Day of Action against blacklisting.
Steve Kelly, Steve Acheson and Dave Smith speak at fringe meetings.
National Shop Steward Network conference runs a workshop on blacklisting.
Steuart Merchant, Francie Graham and Dave Smith give evidence at Scottish
Affairs Select Committee. 10 Directors and senior managers who participated
in blacklisting named and shamed. Press coverage includes Private Eye, The
Mirror, The Guardian
Trade Union Coordinating Group of MPs Tollpuddle event in parliament
featured blacklisting with Bob Crow, John Hendy QC, Ian Murray MP and
Tommy Sheridan MSP announces that the Consulting Association spied on him
for 14 years when he was an elected politician in Scotland.
Official complaint made to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and
Development (CIPD) for an investigation into blacklisting by their members
in the construction industry in breach of the professional body’s new Code
Tollpuddle Festival saw Blacklist Support Group banner marching alongside
the Swindon strikers and BSG speakers at fringe stage alongside barrister
European Commission announces that blacklisting of safety reps will be part
of a review of safety taking place in the European parliament.
Senior journalist and NEC member of NUJ announces that she has a blacklist
file compiled by the Consulting Association.
High Court claim against Sir Robert McAlpine is formally lodged. The
Observer newspaper run major article with a Comment piece by Nick Cohen.
Press speculate that the entire claim if all blacklisted workers were
involved could reach £600m.
Union News produce DVD with lessons of the Sparks dispute video
Jim Sheridan MP calls for blacklisting firms to be barred from publicly
funded projects as he joins Colin Trousdale, Willie Black and other
blacklisted workers protesting outside Balfour Beatty Engineering Services
HQ in Glasgow against the victimisation of UNITE union activist Stewart
Human Rights campaign group Liberty calls on the Information Commissioner’s
Office to re-open its inquiry into blacklisting.
Howard Shiplee of blacklisting firm Laing O'Rourke is appointed to the
Board of the Health & Safety Executive.
Spanish press pick up blacklisting story.
Drew Smith MSP (Labour) and Christina McKelvie MSP (SNP) raise blacklisting
in Scottish parliament.
Gail Cartmail (UNITE) and Justin Bowden & Harry Donaldson (GMB) give
evidence at Select Committee investigation and stick the boot into Balfour
Beatty and Carillion as examples of continuing blacklisting.
TUC Congress unanimously passes motion calling for a public inquiry and
national Day of Action on blacklisting. GMB, UNITE, TSSA, UCATT speak in
the debate. Blacklist Support Group speaks at TUC fringe meetings alongside
Workers at Grangemouth Oil Refinery in Scotland threaten strike action over
ongoing blacklisting and Stewart Hume is miraculously reinstated by Balfour
Crossrail mass picket barricades site entrance after 28 UNITE members are
dismissed when their electrical firm has its contract cut short 3 years
early in a blatant attempt to blacklist union steward Frank Morris after
reps raised safety concerns. The BFK consortium building Crossrail (largest
construction project in Europe) includes BAM and Kier – both proven
GMB organise blacklist protest at Carillion trade stall at Labour Party
Blacklisting protesters close Tottenham Court Road and Moorgate during rush
hour as part of ongoing Crossrail dispute. Protesters occupy the Office of
Rail Regulator (public body responsible for rail safety) after HSE halt
production on site following major gantry collapse on Crossrail site where
safety reps have been blacklisted.
The Information Commissioner's Office gave evidence at the Select Committee
and admit that they had only seized 5-10% of the documents held by the
Financial Times run major story on blacklisting.
Steve Rotheram MP puts down an Early Day Motion 609 calling for a Leveson
style public inquiry into blacklisting
Richard Howson – Carillion Chief Executive - under pressure, issues a
carefully worded statement to the Select Committee denying any involvement
in blacklist except by a small subsidiary, Crown House which stopped in
2006. Blacklist Support Group and GMB refute the claims.
Steve Murphy (UCATT Gen Sec) & Jim Kennedy (UCATT) give evidence to the
Select Committee, exposing Sir Robert McAlpine and Skanska for blacklisting
on the Olympics stadium and media centre. McAlpine alone were being
invoiced for 65 name checks a day during the mass recruitment stage of the
Christian Khan solicitors working on behalf of the Blacklist Support Group
submit a formal complaint to the IPCC about police collusion with
Blacklisting meeting takes place at STUC in Glasgow.
The release of unredacted documents for the High Court claim identify a
number of union officials as the source of information on the blacklist
files. Blacklisted workers including Brian Higgins and Michael Anderson
demand an investigation.
Alan Wainwright – ex-Carillion director turned whistleblower gives evidence
to the Select Committee and names 12 Directors and senior managers in
Carillion Group personally involved in blacklisting. Sheila Knight
ex-Assistant Director of ACAS is named as blacklisting union members who
worked on the Jubilee Line Extension.
ICO admit returning the Consulting Association seized computer without even
turning it on.
Oxford Street closed by protesters in support of unite steward Frank Morris
blacklisted by Crossrail as part of the November 14 EU wide union day of
Blacklist Support Group short-listed for Human Rights Campaign of the Year
at the Liberty Awards ceremony.
Paul Kenny (GMB Gen Sec) sends letter to every labour Councillor in the UK
asking them to support campaign to bar blacklisting firms from public
contracts. Local Authorities across the country vote to support the
Ian Kerr – chief executive of the Consulting Association and convicted
blacklister gives 4 hours of unrepentant evidence at the Select Committee.
Names dozens of senior executives and admits that major blacklisting took
place on the Olympics and Crossrail project. Sir Robert McAlpine paid his
County Court fine! Agrees to supply a full written statement naming all
those senior managers that attended blacklisting meetings.
Ron Baron, head of industrial relations at Crossrail is sacked following
Ian Kerr evidence and Building Magazine article exposing him as a serial
blacklister having been named in previous Employment Tribunal judgements.
UNITE demand an investigation into blacklisting on Crossrail.
Seamus Milne writes major article in The Guardian calling for a Leveson
style public inquiry.
Shami Chakrabarti compares blacklisting to phone hacking on Andrew Marr TV
Health & Safety Executive issue a statement against blacklisting of safety
reps following request by Paul Kenny.
Ian Kerr – chief executive of the Consulting Association dies.
Crossrail worker suffers 70% burns following explosion – site is closed for
safety reasons. Protesters close down Horseferry Road outside the
Department of Transport demanding action over safety and blacklisting on
Crossrail. Boris Johnson announces plan to investigate safety issues on
Steve Acheson reaches 5th year protesting outside Fiddlers Ferry Power
Station near Warrington following his dismissal from site because of the
The fight for justice continues
To help with a nomination: Contact Jerry Hicks email firstname.lastname@example.org
From Jerry Hicks: Re: Election for Unite General Secretary.
Branch/Workplace nomination period 1st January to 15th February returned by 22nd February.
Postal ballot of 1.5 million members from 18th March to 12th April 2013
Who would have imagined that Unite would be holding a ‘snap election’ for General Secretary so soon after the last one? Who would have guessed Len McCluskey would be seeking to ‘renew a mandate’ after only 2 years in office and with 3 more years still to go?So who did demand this “election”? Especially at a time when the union should be concentrating all its resources on fighting the cuts to services, pensions, jobs and attacks on members and their families’ livelihoods.
Was it the thousands of Branch Secretaries? No!
Was it the hundreds of Unite committee chairs? No!
Was it the tens of thousands of workplace reps? No!
hatever good Unite has done over the last 2 years has now been tainted, and what is happening is wrong. This election has been called on a flawed premise, it’s being fast tracked, it’s an election tailor made to suit one member above all others - 1.5 million others, and that far from ‘seeking to renew a mandate’ it is an affront to democracy.
The speed at which this election is being rushed through gives little time for anyone to organise other than the existing GS, Mr McCluskey.
Unless there is another candidate, Mr McCluskey will be “elected” unopposed, effectively extending his term of office without members actually voting until 2018 by which time he will be 67. Perhaps this is why the election was brought forward 3 years instead of 1 or 2 years. Unite supports the ‘68 is too late’ campaign. Do the maths. I support the campaign ‘68 is too late’ but so is 67. We should fight to reverse the raising of the retirement age.
I say to call it an ‘election’ is being more than generous, as it bears all the hallmarks of an organisation seeking to avoid a challenge and thereby holding no election at all.
Worse still by holding the election for GS in 2013 instead of 2015, the year of the UK General Election, Unite are throwing away a golden opportunity. We are told that a reason to bring forward Unite’s election is to avoid any clash with the UK General Election. But that is precisely when we would have maximum influence over the Labour Party.In one misjudged moment we are throwing away the greatest bargaining chip imaginable and the best possible chance to reverse the ‘one way’ relationship with New Labour and instead to negotiate a proper ‘quid pro quo’ agreement.
McCluskey’s plan to reclaim the Labour Party has failed, proof being the recent Rotherham by-election, a Labour safe seat, the candidate chosen was not even a trade union activist let alone Unite’s choice, a Unite member and local workplace senior steward.
Mr McCluskey talks about a co-ordinated fight against the assault on members’ pensions, jobs & conditions and of building a united campaign of resistance, and on that I agree. Yet when presented with an opportunity to do just that, Unite’s leadership chose instead to undermine the PCS and the NUT by not supporting the proposed co-ordinated strike action last March. That was a huge mistake.
For there to be an ‘election’ there has to be more than one candidate.
I have decided to stand in order that members do at least have a chance to vote and to present a positive alternative. However just to get the 50 nominations required to be on the ballot paper will be a big achievement in this most uneven contest.
I have 6 million more reasons to stand. That is the number of £s of members’ money in the last 2 years alone that Unite has handed over to Labour with little or nothing in return. It’s about time that stopped. For Labour to expect support from Unite at the next General Election, Labour must first support Unite’s policies.
Some of what I stand for:
:- Branch restructuring is chaotic but can be remedied: No member will be re-allocated to a Branch without their prior agreement.
:- The election of all officials, elected by members, not appointed by an individual or a panel.
:- Lead a fight to repeal the anti union laws UK & EU and when necessary to confront them.
:- For a General Secretary to live the life of the members they represent, on an average member’s wage not a six figure salary.
:- A Public Works programme, with the first jobs offered to blacklisted construction workers.
:- The creation of one million ‘Green’ jobs. One million potential members.
If you think what’s happening is wrong:
If you, like me, are angry about: If you agree with some, most or the majority of what you have read:
Support my campaign by nominating me at your designated Branch/ Workplace meeting.
Press release: Press release: Press release: Immediate: 17/12/2012
When is an election for Unite General Secretary not an election?
When there's only one candidate! But Unite leadership can think again as Jerry Hicks intends to stand.Who would have imagined that Unite would be holding a ‘snap election’ for General Secretary [GS] so soon after the last one? Who would have guessed that Len McCluskey would be seeking ‘a mandate’ after only 2 years in office and with 3 more years still to go?
So who did demand this “election”? Was it the thousands of Branch Secretaries? No! Was it the hundreds of Unite committee chairs? No! So was it the tens of thousands of workplace representatives? No! As far as can be gathered, not one of these groups was calling for this “election”.Actually to call it an election is being more than generous, as it bears all the hallmarks of an organisation seeking to avoid a challenge and thereby holding no election at all. Indeed many in Unite believe that if Jerry Hicks, the rank and file candidate in the last  election for Unite’s GS and runner up with 52,527 votes, had not decided to stand there would be not be an election.
Rushing through the election gives little time for anyone to organise other than the existing GS, Mr McCluskey. Unless there is a challenger, Mr McCluskey will be “elected” unopposed and is effectively extending his term of office until 2018 when he reaches 67, without members actually voting but allowing him and his supporters to claim it to be a mandate.Jerry Hicks believes that whatever Unite has done for the good over the last 2 years has now been tainted and that the election should not be happening, that it’s been called on a flawed premise and it’s being fast tracked. It’s an election tailor made to suit one member above all others - 1.5 million others, and that far from ‘seeking a mandate’ it is an affront to democracy. It also means by holding the election in 2013 that 1.5 million members are being denied an election for GS in 2015 when we would have maximum influence over the Labour Party as it would be during a general election year.
Jerry Hicks said “I’ve decided to stand now the election process has begun in order that members do have a chance to vote and to present a positive alternative. However just to get the 50 nominations required to be on the ballot paper will be a big achievement in this most uneven contest.So what’s going on? If things in Unite are as good as Mr McCluskey and his supporters say, then why not just carry on doing these good things? And are we to believe that if no one from Unite’s huge number of officials puts themselves forward for the position of GS, it’s because they all agree with things as they are?
One clue to an absence of challengers might be that, despite Mr McCluskey asserting that Unite is a ‘tolerant’ Union, there may be another story. Try asking those officials who left Unite in the weeks following the last Unite GS election, some felt obliged to leave the Union albeit with ‘pay offs’ possibly for nothing more than not backing the winner. For if any were guilty of wrong doing surely they should have been disciplined or dismissed, not paid off.Jerry Hicks said “Mr McCluskey talks about a co-ordinated fight against the assault on members’ pensions, jobs & conditions and of building a united campaign of resistance, and on that I agree.
Yet when presented with an opportunity to do just that, Unite’s leadership chose instead to undermine the PCS and the NUT by not supporting the proposed co-ordinated strike action against the devastating attack on the pensions of Health workers, MOD & Government Departments and Local Authority workers last March.
That was a huge mistake. But it’s not too late to start a serious campaign of opposition to the government cuts and attacks but it will take more than hot air at demonstrations”.
Ends: Notes to editor: Contact Jerry Hicks Tel: 07817827912
Faster than a speeding bullet! Is it a bird? It's a plane?
No it’s the timetable of the ‘Snap election’
for Unite General Secretary.
The timetable for the ‘snap’ election is as follows......................
Nomination period for Branches & Workplaces - 1st January 2013 to 15th February 2013
Closing date for nominations - 22nd February 2013
Ballot period - 18th March 2013 till 12th April 2013
Declaration - 15th April 2013
Calling an early election is one thing and can be described [excused] in various ways, as indeed it is.
Calling the election 3 years early and in the shortest period possible, which then gives absolute advantage to only one candidate, is another thing and surely can only be described as plain wrong.
Commenting on this, Unite member Jerry hicks said “The super human efforts to hold an election for the General Secretary of the country’s biggest union in the fastest possible time is definitely not the act of superman”.
Unite will come under more pressure to explain how it’s relationship with the Labour party works, if the latest reports are true. It seems that the Labour Party intends to abstain in next Tuesday’s [11th Dec] Public pensions Bill vote, reports the London Evening Standard.
This Bill will put into law the Con-Dem attack on public sector pensions,
A very Senior Unite official is being quoted as saying that it’s a “strategic abstention”?
Jerry Hicks said “I guess this all goes hand in hand/glove with Unites’ political ‘strategy’ of reclaiming Labour, or the ‘one way relationship’ as would be a better description.”
Unite in the last 2 years alone has handed over £6 million of it’s members money to Labour, as well as the £10m’s over the years.
According to Jerry Hicks it’s about time that stopped. He argues that a novel method of ‘payment by results’ would offer much better value for money for Unite members. He added that in his view Unite should only fund those MP’s that support Unites policies.
If Labour expects support from public sector workers at the next general election, it should be leading the parliamentary opposition and voting against the Bill.
Notes to editor:
Jerry Hicks was runner up to Len McCluskey in the last election for Unite General Secretary in 2010 securing 52,527 votes.
Jerry Hicks can be contacted by mobile 07817827912 / email email@example.com
By deciding to change the date for the General Secretary election Unite are throwing away a 'Golden opportunity'
Press release: Press release: Press release: Immediate: 05/12/2012
Unite are throwing away a ‘golden opportunity’ by deciding to hold the election for General Secretary in 2013 instead of 2015 the year of the UK General election.The decision made by Unite’s National Executive Committee [NEC] 4th December, by 49 votes to 19, to call an election for the General Secretary a full 3 years early, on a recommendation from the union’s leadership, is unprecedented and is something that may come back to haunt them.
Another twist in the aim to rush through the election at break neck speed, is the likelihood of there being very few candidates, perhaps as few as one? And perhaps that’s part of the plan?
The ‘snap election’ could mean branch and workplace nominations as early as January and February with a postal ballot of over one million members in March 2013. This would give precious little time for anyone other than, shall we say, the existing General Secretary to organise a campaign. Indeed the dragging forward of the date may debar a senior official who would have been eligible by 2015 from standing because of the 10 year continuous membership requirement. Hence perhaps one of the unsaid reasons the election is 3 years early rather than say 1 or 2.
A consequence of the decision, be it by design or ill judgement, is to deny members a decent campaigning time for discussion and debate and therefore less democracy because of the very short election period. Also had it been held in 2015 members would have a more valid time frame upon which to make a judgement on McCluskey’s leadership.
Whatever the official reasons, one being stated is “to avoid any ‘clash’ with the UK general election” [full NEC statement on www.unitetheunion.org]. Jerry Hicks said “Remarkably it’s this ‘clash’ of dates that is being proffered by Unite’s leadership as something to ‘avoid’, but I say that in one misjudged moment we are throwing away the greatest bargaining chip imaginable”. The timing represented the best possible chance to reverse the ‘one way’ relationship with New Labour and instead to negotiate proper ‘quid pro quo’ agreement in exchange for our cash, time and resources. Members have seen £6 million of our money in the last 2 years thrown at the Labour party with little or no return”.
The Con-Dem Government Chancellor George Osborne’s policies of cuts and austerity has spectacularly failed and so has McCluskey’s plan to reclaim the Labour Party.
McCluskey pledged recently [Sept 30th 2012] to “kick the New Labour cuckoos out of our nest”. Yet weeks after this ‘fine talk’, far from Cuckoos being kicked out, Unite’s ‘chickens had come home to roost’ when in the Rotherham byelection, a Labour safe seat, the candidate chosen was not a trade union activist, let alone the choice of Unite which was a very well known local Senior workplace rep who wasn’t even short listed. McCluskey and Osborne are 2 years into their cleverly worked out strategies - both plans lay in ruins but both proponents trumpet the mantra ‘more of the same’.
Jerry Hicks also argues: Whatever Unite have done for the good over the last 2 years has now been tainted by this pursuit of extension of office. It is without proper reason and will be costly. It comes at a time when the union should be concentrating all its resources on fighting the cuts to services, pensions, jobs and attacks on members and their families livelihoods.
Notes to editor: Jerry Hicks was runner up to McCluskey in 2010 securing 52,527 votes he can be contacted by mobile 07817827912 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Press release: Press release: Press release: Immediate: 02/12/2012
Unite make plans to call snap election for General Secretary. But why?
The time table of this ‘snap’ election could begin as early as next week. It is expected that at Tuesday’s [4th December] National Executive meeting approval will be sought to begin the process of the election. The machinery can commence to issue notice to the membership, with the branch and workplace nomination period likely to be January and February.
The postal ballot of over one million members could begin as early as the middle of March 2013.
Len McCluskey became General Secretary of Unite as recently as November 2010 meaning that he has so far only served 2 years of his 5 years term of office.
During McCluskey’s election just 2 years ago it was generally regarded that he would be a one term [5 years] General Secretary, neither he nor his supporters did anything to dispel the illusion.
So why is this happening 3 years early? After all McCluskey could stand again in 2015 as a matter of course. However if he did and won a further 5 years in office that would take him to the age of 70 and advisors think that the union’s members would not be too happy to have a General Secretary working past normal retirement age.
So by dragging the election forward he could run, win, serve a new term of 5 years taking him to 67, thus avoiding that and a number of other issues. Namely the Government proposals of retirement age of 68.
Add all this to the biggest ‘plus’ for McCluskey and his followers, that by using all the union’s machinery to push through at ‘break neck speed’ an election 3 years early makes it almost impossible for anyone else to have anywhere near an equal chance as McCluskey, given the incredibly short time scale and the cost of simply mailing branches which runs to thousands of pounds. Thereby virtually ensuring him a smooth ride, maybe even unopposed.
McCluskey seeking another term makes a mockery of the merger rumours between Unite and the PCS with Mark Sewotka taking over from McCluskey, rumours spread by both hierarchies.
It would also cheat the membership out of an election in 2015 when it’s also the year for the next Parliamentary General Election. Unites ‘one way’ relationship with New Labour is an increasing source of criticism of his leadership, so in a General Election year a debate about it might be a problem for McCluskey.
Jerry Hicks, runner up in the previous 2 elections for General Secretary said “Our Union has a long and discredited history of general secretaries trying to cling on to power beyond the age of 65. There was Ken Jackson, and then Derek Simpson, now Len McCluskey wants some more of it.”
Jerry Hicks went on to say “This is just not right, it’s completely unnecessary and verging on abuse of power. It sets the wrong example, shows the wrong leadership and sends the wrong message that raising the retirement age is OK. It’s not! We should be seeking to lower the retirement age for working people, to end the scourge of high unemployment especially amongst the under 25s.
Notes to editor: Jerry Hicks was runner up to McCluskey in 2010 securing 52,527 votes he can be contacted by mobile 07817827912 or email email@example.com
1) Grassroots Left London Regional Conference - CANCELLED!
to proximity to the National Conference on 17th November in Birmingham, a
significant number of apologies from our activists as well as a couple
of speakers dropping out, we thought it would be a better idea to cancel
the proposed London Regional Conference this Sunday, and encourage
everyone to try and make it along to Birmingham later in the month.
Apologies for the short notice! We hope to see you all at the:
2) Grassroots Left 3rd National Conference - GOING AHEAD!Just to avoid any confusion, the National Conference is defnitely going ahead! Please make every effort to attend.
Grassroots Left 3rd National conference
In the Conference Room
At The Comfort Inn
Station Street, B5 4DY.
Opposite New St Station, Birmingham City Centre
Saturday 17th of November 2012
From 12 noon to 4pm.
This establishment is also a short walk from Snow Hill & Moor St stations.
This meeting is open to members of UNITE the union, their families & friends. Fellow trade unionists and others who are supporters of the Grassroots Left initiative are also most welcome to attend. Refreshments are available from the hotel bar on the ground floor.
JOIN THE GRASSROOTS LEFT TODAY
SET UP A STANDING ORDER
Posted by Billy at 14:48
In the Conference Room
At The Comfort Inn
Station Street, B5 4DY.
Opposite New St Station, Birmingham City Centre
Saturday 17th of November 2012
From 12 noon to 4pm.
This establishment is also a short walk from Snow Hill & Moor St stations.
This meeting is open to members of UNITE the union, their families & friends. Fellow trade unionists who are supporters of the Grassroots Left initiative are also most welcome to attend. Refreshments are available from the hotel bar on the ground floor.
Posted by Billy at 12:37
The Third Grand Old Duke of York Demo:
TU leaders must fight for “needs budgets”!
Enough of the bogus “protecting frontline services”, “caring cuts”, “dented shields” and “cuts too far too fast”!
WE have seen only a fraction of the cuts to come first planned by Chancellor George Osborne in 2010—the total is almost £600 billion, and that is without the readjustments necessitated by the shrinkage of the economy and tax take due to these deflationary policies. So far less than 15% has been implemented.
What are the prospects of the official Labour movement leading a fightback against these vicious cuts? Even if Labour wins in 2015 it will continue these cuts without let-up. Shadow chancellor Ed Balls told the Guardian, “The public want to know that we are going to be ruthless and disciplined in how we go about public spending”. And at the Labour Conference, “we cannot make any commitments now that the next Labour government will be able to reverse particular tax rises or spending cuts.”
And what are the intentions of the trade unions and Labour council leaders, surely they will lead a fightback? They have no intention of doing so.
At a meeting with about fifty of its Councillors, including Council leaders and Labour group leaders, on 12 November 2010 in Leeds Unite newly elected Gen Sec Len McCluskey got Gail Cartmell to instruct them to carry out all the cuts by setting legal budgets whilst hypocritically protesting. Not one balked at this disgraceful instruction. Not a single Labour councillor voted against the cuts imposed in April 2010, despite panic and soul-searching in Lambeth and Hackney. There was no question of setting ‘needs budgets’ to protect the vulnerable against the cuts. Len McCluskey made his usual anti-cuts speech at this year’s TUC but meekly acquiesced to the cuts agenda at the Labour party conference.
Back at the first 500, 000-strong ‘Grand Old Duke of York’ demo on 26 March 2011, just to make sure that he did not whip the troops into a revolutionary frenzy, McCluskey had Unite’s stewards sporting the Ed Miliband slogan “cuts too far too fast” on their hi viz vests. What are the mobilising marching chants appropriate to this inspiring idea; “An injury to one is an injury to one and that’s all, and that’s all”, “cut some not all, cut some not all” and, "cut their jobs, not our jobs, cut their jobs, not our jobs, do dah, dah do dah”? Bureaucrats save their fiery speeches for the big occasion to hide their sell-outs when no one is on the streets.
On 30 November 2011 we had the ‘Grand Old Duke of York’ one day Public Sector Pensions Strike. This saw a series of strikes over the whole of the UK. 60% of schools in England were closed and 6,000 hospital operations cancelled as up to two million public sector workers went on strike. Again a tokenistic series of protests, with no follow up to build the movement just as the Socialist party’s “one day general strike” would become if not developed into an indefinite one.
The strangle-hold the TU bureaucracy has on the rank and file of the movement is stronger now than ever. They actively foster the two tier workforce to split and divide us. We saw this in Ellesmere Port, in the London buses and in countless other workplaces; new starters are second class TU members, with lower pay rates and far worse conditions. Almost all left groups do not fight this in any serious way, thus they do not prepare for this impending catastrophe. The National Shop Stewards Network, Unite the Resistance and the Coalition of Resistance cosy up to bureaucrats, left and right, with Len McCluskey’s treachery alibied and excused by all.
To begin the real fightback we must build a genuine rank and file movement in the trade unions, which fights ALL the sell-out bureaucrats by the united front method; ‘with them where possible, without and against them where necessary’. This is the task the Grass Roots Left has set itself. From the foregoing it is clear that we must also bring that fight into the Labour party to being to prepare for the 85% cuts to come and the inevitable political consequences of a Labour government viciously attacking its core supporters as Ramsey McDonald did in 1931.
Labour makes no promise to tax the rich, Balls has not even promised to reinstate the tokenistic 50p rate of tax. He was booed at the TUC promising to continuing the attack on the public sector. Given the dire consequences of the 15% cuts we have already seen the effect of the remaining 85% amount to the total destruction of the welfare state built up since 1945—the NHS privatised and local council no more than paymasters for privatised and decimated services. This will inevitably split the Labour party, despite the apparent weakness of the left there and in TUs right now.
Stop marching us up to the top of the hill, only to be marched back down [Or left up there]!
We must prepare for this by renewing the Labour movement, linking up with those within and outside the Labour party who want to fight. We begin with the core organised working class movement, the trade unions, and from there we must take the struggle into the Labour party. To do this we promote the principles and practices of the R+F in all our areas of work. These principles should include,
a) Democratise the unions!
b) elections of all union officials!
c) Officials to be paid no more than the average skilled worker’s wage!
d) Defiance of the anti-union laws!
e) A steeply progressive wealth tax!
f) Public works at TU rates of pay to give work to the unemployed!