Jerry Hicks For General Secretary

Jerry Hicks Campaign Blog

1200 leaflets go into Brighton Sector Conferences

Posted by jerryhicks4gs on June 12, 2008


In 2002 Derek Simpson was highly critical of the decision to extend Sir Ken Jackson’s period of office by two years beyond retirement. Now he has hypocritically arranged for an extension of office for himself until 2010 when he will then be 66. 

Derek Simpson also questioned the right of Sir Ken Jackson to remain as AEEU General Secretary as he had only been elected by the minority former EETPU section of the union and forced an election.

I now question the right of Derek Simpson to remain in office on the same basis that he was only ever 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.

Last week I lodged a legal challenge with the certification officer. The union has said that the application has been rejected which is untrue. The claim is in the process of being considered. I hope that the result will mean that an election for General Secretary may be called for sometime later this year.

It is widely accepted that what happened in 2002 opened the door for a positive change in the union and that’s precisely what is being sought now.

Derek Simpson did the right thing in 2002. That’s’ why, I and, others gave him our full support.

What he is doing now is wrong and that’s why he is being challenged.

Simpson’s election pledges ‘betrayed’

Derek Simpson abandoned his 2002 election promises very quickly having been easily swayed and won over by ‘Tony’ and ‘Gordon’. Simpson, the man once described as a migraine for the government has become their Anadin Extra.

During his 6 years in office we have witnessed ever more closures, job insecurity and vicious attacks on pension and conditions. Did the £1 million spent on a ‘Buy English’ advertising campaign save the Peugeot factory? We should have been calling on the government to step in and nationalise the Peugeot factory as they were forced to do with Northern Rock.

With 2.1 million members and 100 sponsored MPs have we repealed Anti Union legislation?

Have we even gained the most basic right to re-instatement when unfairly dismissed?

Our union 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 helping to ensure he was unopposed for the Labour Party leadership.

A year ago MPs cheered as they voted for the abolition of the 10p tax rate. Few now will say it’s right!

Can we afford to do nothing and simply wait until 2010?

This challenge has the potential of being the single biggest change not just within the union, but also in the union’s relationship with the New Labour government.

With that comes an opportunity, perhaps the last chance under this New Labour government of really redressing the imbalance between us and the employers.

The union has just held elections for the NEC on a 10% turnout. Of the 2.1 million members 90% never felt engaged involved or inspired enough to vote. Under Derek Simpson’s leadership our union has not managed to touch the lives or minds of massive numbers of our members enough for them to feel the need or worth of becoming participants in affairs of the union.

Despite numerous mergers, (the latest proposed being with the American USW union) which in principle I support, many of us do not feel stronger and more able to defend ourselves.

When the members voted on the merger and rulebook it was as a package, not on individual rules or clauses. Had they been asked “Do you agree with Derek Simpson going 8 years without an election and staying on to 2010 until he is 66, which would mean an extra cost to members of over £100,000 in wages and expenses?” who’s to say which way that vote would have gone. I could have a good guess!


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