Unite has called a ‘snap election’ but for whose benefit?
by Jo Benefield
UNITE the country’s biggest and potentially the most powerful Union will be holding an election for its General Secretary a lot earlier than was necessary. But why? And who stands to benefit? More importantly - who will pay the biggest price?
This election was not due to take place until 2018. So - was there a demand from Unite’s tens of thousands of workplace representatives? Was there an overwhelming insistence from its 1.3 million members? No, neither of those is the case - so why then and for whose benefit?
It is being proffered that McCluskey ‘must stand now’ as he is the only one to ‘save’ Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Yet Corbyn has recently, easily seen off a Labour coup and now sees himself elected twice on massive majorities.
Many, including Jerry Hicks,are saying “Far from saving the safe Jeremy Corbyn, McCluskey is using Corbyn so he (McCluskey) can cling on to power for another 5 years taking him to 71”.
The fact that it is happening should have come as no surprise as McCluskey has form on calling ‘snap elections’. He did the same in 2013, then on a different false premise of avoiding a potentially damaging Unite election at the same time as the 2015 General Election. For the record, McCluskey was instrumental in Ed Miliband winning the Labour leadership, (who then went on to lose the General Election), and shunning John McDonnell’s bid. Gerard Coyne now a declared challenger for Unite General Secretary was silent throughout all this.
Jerry Hicks has phrased it as ‘Two sides of the same Coyne’ and that both want to cash in on a six figure salary (paid out of members’ pockets). They have so much in common. Both have worked for the Union for decades in appointed ‘jobs for life’ so neither has been on strike for decades. Both support Nuclear energy. Both support Trident at a cost of £200bn, despite Unite having over 1million members not involved in Trident but who will be affected by austerity & savage cuts to pay for Trident. Both believe in appointing all paid Unite officers, thereby denying members a choice of who will represent them - despite paying those officers’ wages.
Jerry Hicks went on to say 'If this were the Labour leadership election, McCluskey would be Andy Burnham and Coyne would be a cross between Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall. Neither would be Jeremy Corbyn. Ironic then that McCluskey has created the circumstances, and then makes Corbyn the central issue
'McCluskey has set his house on fire and pleads with the members to put it out.
'McCluskey and his followers including many senior appointed officers always rely on ‘the fear’ factor. In 2013, I was ‘the danger’, I was the ‘red’ they mercilessly baited, saying my policies would wreck the Union. In fact, my election address and not McCluskey’s, read like Corbyn’s manifesto.
'Members deserve better than this, a lot better - something completely different.'
Jerry Hicks is an unemployed member of Unite having been unlawfully sacked by Rolls Royce and also on the infamous and illegal employers ‘blacklist’. He ran for Unite General Secretary in 2013 and received 80,000 votes nearly 40%