Jerry Hicks For General Secretary

Jerry Hicks Campaign Blog

WE HAVE A CHOICE-REAL CHANGE OR MORE OF THE SAME

Posted by jerryhicks4gs on January 16, 2009

It is with great pleasure and pride that I am able to say that I have now received official notification that I am a candidate in the election for the Unite Amicus General Secretary.

I have received nominations from as far afield as the Shetlands to the Isle of Wight, from East Anglia to the North West, from Wales to Ireland. Support has come from all points of the compass, from every region and sector of the union.

It was inevitable that I had the hardest task given that all the other candidates are senior officials of the union. It is worth remembering that when I launched the legal challenge virtually everyone said there was no chance of success. How wrong they were.

Then it was said I would not secure enough nominations to be on the ballot paper, yet I am already in front of Reuter and Faircloth and within touching distance of Simpson and Coyne. Indeed when Simpson himself won the election in 2002 against Ken Jackson he was much further behind at this stage.

This is still very much a David versus Goliath contest and David won that encounter as well! Another example would be Mark Serwotka, the PCS General Secretary was a part time clerk in the DSS when he went on to win.

At the time of the initial challenge back in May of this year not one of the other candidates was either brave enough or willing to come out in support of the action. Now they all say how many problems the Union faces. Not one of them however said anything about these matters prior to me being successful in forcing the election and that begs the question of their judgement. 

 Crisis of credibility where rhetoric fails to measure up to reality

We are at a crossroads in our relationship with the government, with the employers, and between the union and its members. Our union calls for a windfall tax yet nothing happens. Our union demands no job losses – no home repossessions – but things only get worse. Employers feel confident enough to break agreements and announce even more job cuts, while the union appears as bystanders and onlookers instead of opinion leaders and policy makers!

We are the country’s biggest trade union, and the single biggest donator to the Labour government – £11 million since 2005 and £millions more in loans. We support over 100 Labour MPs. We shouldn’t have to plead for change, we deserve better and should demand more. I say support only those MPs or councillors that give support for our policies.

And what of the merger with the T&GWU? I support mergers if we become stronger, not just bigger. But does anyone feel safer in their workplace as a result of the merger? If we ask the members to list their concerns most will answer, jobs, pay, pensions, health & safety, hours of work.

There is a gap that has become a chasm between the union and its members and it needs to be bridged by returning ownership of the union to where it belongs – the members.

The ‘talking shop’ democracy offered by the other candidates is meaningless.

I believe in lay democracy with lay control. Workplace reps, sector committees, combines and branches all know their problems and the solutions and should be empowered to make their own decisions.

 I promise that if I were General Secretary I would support them, not as they are now, policed by the General Secretary. Let’s turn the pyramid on its head – instilling a confidence long since lost.

The Equality and Diversity structure offers an opportunity for more members to become involved, to have their voices heard and for the union to fight on their behalf. I will make sure that these structures are a model within Unite for the genuine involvement of members.

United, Equal and Diverse, Valued, Involved and Incorporated

  Retired members with a wealth of experience and talent should be recognised as a prized asset, not treated as second class citizens. As with other Equality and Diversity committees, they deserve to have their own section as well as participate fully and equally in all the democratic structures of the union. If elected as General Secretary I would push to make this happen.

 A chance to elect a General Secretary in touch and closer to members

We despise ‘Fat cats’ in the city, why have a ‘Fat cat’ General Secretary in our union with wages of £126,939, a free car and a virtually free £1million house forever, a lifestyle nothing like that of our members. The other candidates would continue with these arrangements. This would end if I were elected. I would only take the average wage of a skilled worker.

Over the coming weeks the campaign proper will begin in earnest. There is a straight choice between the person who sought to stay in office illegally, those who stayed silent when things were going wrong or myself who decided to confront the issues by challenging the leadership.

If what I say reflects your own experience, the life you lead, the world you live in then please would you consider supporting me in my campaign for General Secretary, by way of an invitation for me to speak at meetings. And by making a financial donation make a donation make cheques payable to Jerry Hicks 4GS.

If you wish to help, want to know more, please contact me  Tel:7817827912  Email: jo@benefield.force9.co.uk

Or write to me: 10 York Road, Montpelier, Bristol; BS6 5QE.

Donations will be receipted. Records will be available for inspection.

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