Monday, 23 January 2017

Cut the Crap of a Unite Coronation!

No to elitism & top-down trade unionism!
from an Ian Allinson e-mail - headline & sub-title northern voices
THE shortened nomination period, along with the unexpected election, is a key part of how this was intended to be a coronation rather than a contest.  We've now had one week of the five weeks for nominations.
Our arguments are being very well received in workplaces and at hustings. I've posted some tips if your branch or workplace wants to organise a hustings.
Thanks to London GEMS, South Croydon Arriva bus, Tyneside Engineering, Coventry & Warwickshire Tom Mann, Bury commercial and SCA Prudhoe branches that have told me they have nominated me so far.
Six is a good start, but we'll need to up the pace if we're to be sure of being on the ballot paper.  We have to assume that the union will find ways to rule out a fair proportion of our nominations, so have to aim well above the 50.  The other candidates have lavishly funded campaign machines - we're relying on ourselves to fight for every nomination and to ensure members can decide the future of our union based on the issues, not on who has rich and powerful backers.
If you win a nomination at your meeting, please let me know right away and make sure all the paperwork is sent off accurately and promptly.  Branches can do this online, which goes directly to ERS and avoids the possibility of Unite mislaying your nomination.
Bury Commercial branch contacted local press following their nomination and got some coverage, which all helps make members aware of the campaign.  The Tom Mann branch decided to donate to the costs campaign.
Don't forget that as well as branch nominations, every workplace can also make a nomination, unless it is in a branch covering just that one workplace.  Full details of how to nominate me are here. Nominations at workplaces are just as important as branches.  They may not be able to contribute financially, but workplace meetings often involve more / different members than branch meetings.
Please let me know:
  • Where and when your nominating meeting is
  • If you'd like me or a representative to come and speak at your meeting or to visit your workplace - please give me as much detail as possible
  • If you'd like some leaflets, how many you'd like and where to send them to
If you support the campaign, please make sure you've left your details here. Let me know what you're doing and how it's going.
This week I've posted new material on on sexism, bullying and harassment in Unite, and on the arguments around Trident, partnership and diversification - I'm the only candidate clearly opposed to Trident. The web site also carries my campaign pledges, many of which link to articles with a more detailed explanation. These are copied below.
There's no let up in the pressure from employers and government, so we can afford no let up in our campaign. More of the same isn't good enough!

Ian's pledges

Communication, participation and a bottom-up union

  • Champion lay member democracy and participation, don't undermine it.
  • Fortnightly email bulletins direct to all activists, not filtered through officers and committees.
  • Support members being able to elect the officers who represent us. Not only would this increase accountability, it would reduce the power of patronage and the climate of fear in the union.
  • Tackle the non-functioning branches that deny members a voice and access to resources.
  • Oppose the exclusion of community and retired members from participation in Unite structures.
  • I'd keep my current wage, not the inflated General Secretary salary, to avoid giving the hostile media ammunition against us.

A stronger union, fit for the future

  • Involve members, officers and staff in a major review of Unite's structures to make them fit for purpose in the 21st century. Shift resources and power away from regions to better support the vast majority of Unite workplaces that are in employers spanning multiple regions. Improve support for company and sub-sector combine committees.
  • Encourage a spirit of experimentation in organising. Documents and publicise case studies of lessons from members’ organising and campaigning efforts and successes. We spend too much effort trying to reinvent the wheel.
  • A flexible facility for levies for strike funds etc, not restricted to where all members are in workplace branches.
  • Access to a Dispute Unit for all disputes from an early stage. All members in dispute should feel like they have a million members behind them, not be left to fend for themselves.
  • Expand the lay companion scheme to involve more members (including those not in paid work) and free up officer time from casework.
  • Overhaul education, which is essential for organising and changing the union's culture, in the light of funding cuts, and ensure fair treatment for our tutors.
  • Build on our organising success by increasing lay member involvement.

 Equality and young members' issues in our industrial agenda, not an optional extra

 Campaign now: backing Corbyn shouldn't mean waiting for him

  • Extend Unite's support for Jeremy Corbyn, not only through Unite's role inside the Labour Party, but by grass roots campaigning and action which can win people over. Stop undermining him on key policies and calling his leadership into question.

 Fight for workers' rights, don't tail our employers' agendas

  • Organise regional conferences bringing together campaigns for civil liberties and against state repression, so that our opposition to anti-union legislation stops being isolated and ineffective.
  • Challenge the culture of partnership - we are not "all in it together". Post-Brexit Unite should be prioritising defence of workers' rights, not tailing employers' demands for free trade or protectionism.
  • Support a million climate jobs, not costly and destructive vanity projects like Trident, HS2, Heathrow expansion and Hinkley Point. Proactively fight for diversification to protect members whose jobs will be affected by changes such as climate change, changes in defence policy and automation. Call a conference of defence workers, the defence teams from Labour and the SNP, and experts on diversification.
  • Investigate the role of union officials in blacklisting members. Officially extend every assistance to the Blacklist Support Group in rooting out collusion and backdoor deals with the employers.


No comments: