Press Release 27th May 2008
Posted by jerryhicks4gs on May 27, 2008
Challenge to Derek Simpson’s Right To Lead Britain’s Biggest Union:
A legal challenge to Unite Joint General Secretary Derek Simpson has been filed today which questions his right to remain in office. The challenge has been launched by former Rolls Royce convenor Jerry Hicks who until recently represented workers in the Aerospace industry on the Unite Executive Council.
Using the same legal opinion given to Derek Simpson, who successfully challenged Sir Ken Jackson in 2002, Mr Hicks has questioned Mr Simpson’s right to remain as General Secretary after his period of office was extended by a year to beyond retirement age following the merger of Amicus and the TGWU to form Unite.
In a duplication of the argument used by Mr Simpson in 2002, where he questioned the fact that Sir Ken Jackson had only been elected by the minority former EETPU section of the union, Jerry Hicks has also questioned the fact that Derek Simpson has only ever been elected by the AEEU section of Unite and that members of the former MSF, Unifi and GPMU have not had a democratic vote on who should be the General Secretary. It is widely accepted that the ruling in 2002 opened the door for a positive change in the union and the same ruling is being sought now.
Under the rules of the merger with the TGWU it is possible that Joint General Secretary Tony Woodley would also be forced to stand down which could then open up an election for a new General Secretary for all the 2.1 million members of Unite.
Derek Simpson won the election in the AEEU in 2002 against Sir Ken Jackson by a narrow majority of 410 following a recount. Jerry Hicks, who was one of the key figures in getting Simpson elected, has announced that if he is successful in his legal challenge then he will stand as a candidate in the election for a new General Secretary.
Mr Hicks a union convenor, was sacked from his job in Rolls Royce in 2005 where he had worked for 30 years and won an Industrial Tribunal decision of ‘victimisation’ following the attack on trade union rights in the Bristol factory. Though there was several weeks of strike action at the time Mr Simpson’s decision not to show a personal presence was considered deeply damaging to the campaign for Mr Hick’s re-instatement.
Jerry Hicks said today “This decision has not been taken without careful consideration. It’s vital that we re-invigorate members. This is not the time to become even more remote or deny members a choice.”Unite is not only the country’s biggest Trade Union it’s also the biggest single donator to the Labour Party having given £millions of members’ money over the last few years. Last year Derek Simpson gave his backing to Gordon Brown and also helped to ensure he was unopposed in his challenge for the Labour leadership. Mr Simpson has also been criticised for abandoning his election pledges, including support for the principle of election of officers as well as over the role he played in the construction workers dispute at Wembley Stadium.
It is hoped that the result of the challenge that has been lodged with the government appointed certification officer will mean that an election may be called for sometime later this year.
Notes for Editors:
Jerry Hicks can be contacted on his mobile for an interview on 07817 827912.
A website www.JerryHicks4gs.com has been set up for details of the policies on which Jerry stands.