Saturday, 15 April 2017

Yesterday's men (& woman) back Mr. Coyne,

 as Coyne Calls for a Unite union Clean Up

CALLING for a 'clean up' of the Unite union Gerard Coyne, one of the candidates in the Unite election for General Secretary, wrote on his Blog:
'Your union takes more than £150 million of subscription money from members every year. I do not believe there is enough openness about how your money is spent. You deserve better, so I will give members like you oversight of Unite’s finances. Vote Gerard Coyne now and clean up Unite.'
Meanwhile, on Wednesday 5 April 2017 three former union bosses; Roger Lyons Former general secretary, Manufacturing, Science and Finance Union; Bill Morris Former general secretary, Transport and General Workers Union and Margaret Prosser Former president, Trades Union Congress wrote a letter to The Guardian:
'We believe that strong unions are essential to public life and that they are both the best and the last defence of working people against abuse and exploitation. With Brexit adding to the pressures on working people and injecting huge additional instability into the economy, it is essential unions are able to exert the maximum industrial strength....
'Our labour movement always needs to be engaged in renewal and in searching out new ideas and new methods to advance its aims. Gerard Coyne is the candidate who can do most to deliver new ideas and reinvigorate our movement at a supremely difficult moment.'

 Gerard Coyne 'bringing union's name into disrepute'?
There have been criticisms from Coyne that has annoyed Len McCluskey’s supporters, for whom loyalty to the union means not bringing its name into disrepute.
McCluskey, a former employee in Liverpool’s dockyards, has the advantage of a national profile, as well as being a formidable operator at branch level.
His campaign has won the largest number of nominations ever, including from defence workers at the Faslane and Coulport naval bases in Scotland and the Barrow shipyards in Cumbria – despite Corbyn’s opposition to Trident renewal.
Voting ends on the 19th, April, and Coyne has a tough fight before him.  Rupert Murdoch's The Sun newspaper may be backing Coyne, but the Mirror and Morning Star have lined up behind McCluskey.  Most of the apparatus and officers of the Unite union have been seemingly marshalled behind Len McCluskey.
Supporters of Coyne believe there is still a chance of victory, if they can get a higher turnout of Unite’s 1.4 million members to vote.  The low turnout in union elections – 15.2% voted in the 2013 general secretary contest – hands disproportionate influence to its radical activists, many of whom may see McCluskey as too rightwing.

Ian Allinson condemns 'treacherous role of some union officials' 
The third candidate and shopfloor activist, Ian Allinson, may take votes from McCluskey.  On the blacklist in the British building trade, Ian Allinson has said:
'It is great that Len McCluskey has backed calls for an enquiry, but the gap between the blacklisted workers’ view of the evidence and his own is worrying. 
'McCluskey says: “While new evidence has unfolded in the High Court proceedings it is not the case that this evidence points towards present or previous union officials”.
'It is hard to believe that the employers’ blacklist could be as extensive and long-lasting as it was without the treacherous role played by some union officials.'
Commenting on the recent Unite / UCATT merger Mr. Allinson calls on Unite to clean out the stable: 'UK construction workers have, for the first time, the possibility of being organised in one big united union, apart from small numbers of workers in GMB.  However, if the merger takes place at a purely formal and bureaucratic level, the chance to extend real democracy and rank and file control would be lost.  Worse still if we missed the chance to clean the Augean stable of the complicity and corruption which has robbed union activists of their livelihoods and wrecked families.'
Rank & File labelled 'A Cancer'!
Len McCluskey has been in office as the General Secretary of Unite sine 2011, yet what has he done about the alleged crooked officials in the union?  We know from what is being said by the lads on the job, is that many believe that the blacklist in the British building industry is alive and kicking!
When the rank and file make achievements and score victories it is often in spite of the officer class rather than because of them.  But it is often the officer class that claims the credit.
As Ian Allinson has pointed out:
'Construction activists have shown that grassroots democratic movements, the Construction Rank and File and the Blacklist Support Group, have begun to make officials accountable as well as building the beginnings of a real fighting union at workplace and sector level.'
Very often the rank and file campaign has been denounced by the officer class, and it was once describe as 'a cancer' by one trade union functionary still in office. 
Coyne is right the Unite union needs cleaning up!  More precisely it needs an officer class that is answerable to to its members.

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