Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Unite LGBT By-election

Below is a message from Jenny Douglas United Left candidate for the vacant LGBT seat on Unite Executive Council.
You can download the letter here http://www.unitedleft.org.uk

Membership number 13326312
Branch SC/79/16 Dundee City Council
Workplace Central Library Dundee
Sector Local Authorities

Dear Colleagues 

I am writing to seek your support and nomination to stand for the vacant LGBT seat on our Executive Council. 

I believe that equality should be at the heart of everything we do in our union and I would be very proud to be your representative on the EC.

I have worked in the public sector for 33 years and have been a union representative since the 1980s.  During this time I have gained experience of every aspect of representation in the most senior roles of our branch. 

I am a committed activist and a regular attendee at demonstrations, political rallies, Unite conferences and in every aspect of the lay structures and events of our union. 

My commitment to lay democracy is very strong and I have progressed the equality agenda by campaigning for improvements to the law for LGBT members and by participation in every level of the democratic structures of our movement. 

I was very proud to be elected as the Chair of our LGBT National committee this term and have further extensive experience in our movement including:

  My role as a Unite Lay Tutor

  My election to sit on the STUC General Council

  My role on the Scottish Labour Party Executive Committee

  My role in the Trades Council network 

My activism, however, is not limited to the equality agenda and I have, and will continue to, campaign for improvements for all our members in relation to progressive industrial and political policy and to resist unfair treatment of our members wherever it is found.

Please support my candidacy by nominating me through your Branch, Workplace or Chapel and allow me to take your views and voice to the Executive Council. 

Yours in Solidarity


JENNY DOUGLAS - for lay democracy, a strong voice, workplace and community experience and a commitment to equality and the political and industrial agenda of our members and our union.

Friday, 17 May 2013

LGBT executive council by-election - UNITED LEFT candidate

United Left's candidate in the by-election for the LGBT seat is Jenny Douglas
Jenny Douglas's details are as follows
Membership number  13326312

Branch                 SC/79/16  Dundee City Council

Workplace             Central Library Dundee

Sector Local Authorities.

Jenny is Chair of the National LGB&T Committee in Unite and also on the STUC LGB&T Committee.
Please nominate and support

Friday, 3 May 2013

Unite & TSSA to Form Cross Transport Union

Unite the union and TSSA have today (1 May) announced that they are starting discussions to form Britain and Ireland’s first-ever cross-transport union, organising and representing workers across all forms of the transport industry.

United Left Activists in North East, Yorkshire & Humberside welcome this news and look forward to working with TSSA activists and members to secure a strong union representing members across all areas of Transport Sector.
The combination will bring together Unite’s members in buses, air transport, road haulage, docks and waterways with TSSA’s 23,000 members in rail and travel.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “I welcome the opportunity to bring TSSA into the Unite family, making our union stronger.

“For the first time, workers across all forms of transport will be united in a single union – that can only help hard-pressed employees, and put big transport companies on notice to shape up.

“TSSA’s proud traditions in the rail sector, its present commitment to organising workers and the strong industrial logic make this a natural step to take.”

TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: “This will secure a very powerful voice for TSSA members well into the future.

“As a result of privatisation and deregulation, the vast majority of TSSA members now work for the same multinational companies as transport workers within Unite.

“In addition, the negotiating hand of our travel trade members will be greatly strengthened by being part of a union that organises the airline industry.
“Teaming up with Unite will deliver a stronger campaigning union – a force to be reckoned with!”

Subject to the successful conclusion of talks and the approval required by both union’s constitutional structures and by relevant legislation, it is hoped to secure the transfer of TSSA’s engagements into Unite in early 2014.

Of Unite’s 1.5 million members, around 250,000 are in the various transport sectors. TSSA’s membership is mainly in the rail industry, with some employed in the travel trade and across other forms of transport.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Polestar Chapel Endorsement for McCluskey

As a printworker and member for over 30 years GPM activist and elected representative for over 25 years.

I Will be campaigning for Len McCluskey  to continue his positive and progressive leadership of our union.

In the current industrial and social climate its crucial that we
maintain continuity as UKs leading trade union fighting against
injustice in the workplace and our communities.

Working people are facing insecurity, job losses and a relentless assault against their terms & conditions by employers together with the Govt attacks to weaken employment rights.

Our members and their families are witnessing the decimation of our
cherished NHS, welfare system, local & public services.

We must continue the struggle to make the Labour Party more representative. Where our
activists from the shopfloor and the real world are MPs rather than
from the chattering classes, business and career politicians.

Private equity firms are snapping up firms and squeezing all the time
to make ever bigger profits at expense of workers.

We must be a fighting back union. I welcome the introduction of the
dispute fund and the leverage campaign.

Finally, its work in progress.......
There is much work to be done to ensure working people are treated with fairness and social justice.
Our members and the vulnerable are being clobbered by the Con Dem Government for a crisis that the bankers and fat cat corporations created. The latest injustice being the bedroom tax. Tories victimise their victims. Like they did with the disabled and unemployed after they had shut remploy factories.

We must win an organised workplace. We are stronger together. Where
every member counts and is valued.

I urge you to support Len;so that together and colectively we can work for our members our communities and Unite.

In solidarity

Bro Ged Dempsey
FoC (convenor) & Secretary
Polestar Sheffield - Unite GPM

Member of GPM Nisc and

Polestar Sheffield is the largest workplace & GPM Chapel in the UK
commercial print sector.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Unite General Secretary Election Hots Up

From Martin Mayer United Left National Chair

According to internal SWP documents, Socialist Workers Party members are being put on a “war footing” for UNITE's General Secretary election. The entire energy of this political party is being directed at our Union's democratic procedure, so watch out for groups of SWP newspaper sellers outside every UNITE workplace they can think of giving out Jerry Hicks leaflets. Obvious targets for SWP are bus garages, which have a very strong UNITE membership and hospitals, local authorities, haulage depots, banks and factories could all be targets.


They will also be pedalling the lies and misinformation that has been a feature of Jerry Hick's campaign, so here are a few facts to counter them:


“Len McCluskey sold out on the public sector pensions dispute”

NOT TRUE! Len and the UNITE Executive Council gave full backing to our members to pursue coordinated strike action. However as other unions like GMB and UNISON pulled out, our lay members in health, local authorities and Ministry of Defence took democratic decisions themselves not to continue. Unlike Jerry, Len backs industrial action when our members decide – he doesn't force them to!


“Branch reorganisation has been a mess – I will back those members who refuse”

Under Len, UNITE's Executive Council has radically restructured our membership structure at the base – by creating sustainable workplace branches. This has upset some people, particularly in large geographical branches, but in most cases it has been logical to break them up and create real union power in the workplace. There have been problems in some regions but there is full lay membership involvement in the process plus an open appeal process right through to the Executive Council


“Don't be fooled by Len McCluskey - he is an overpaid union bureaucrat”

A cheap shot! Len McCluskey is one of the best-left union leaders in the country – and he's putting his money where his mouth is. Since coming to office he has introduced a £25M dispute fund, initiated a groundbreaking “leverage strategy” to help us win disputes and has made a point of never repudiating a strike. Setting up UNITE’s Community Membership for unemployed students and retired activists was his personal initiative – a first in the union movement. He is the most influential union leader in the country arguing inside and outside the Labour Party against austerity and all the spending cuts, and is pressing the case in the TUC General Council to prepare for a general strike. Len a union bureaucrat? Don’t be fooled!!


“Jerry is the leader of the rank and file – UNITE gives no voice to members”

NOT TRUE! Jerry is self-appointed leader of the “rank-and-file” in construction although he never was a construction worker! He got short shrift recently from the members in that industry at a national rank and file meeting of construction workers! The truth is Jerry has no knowledge of the workings of UNITE's new democratic lay member structures – our Area Activist Committees; our Regional and National Industrial Sector conferences and committees for each industry UNITE organises in; our Regional Committees and Equalities committees and conferences. All these were set up after post Jerry Hicks and he plays no part in them.


 “Len is just another General Secretary loyally backing the Labour Party”

NOT TRUE! UNITE’s new Political Strategy has been spearheaded by Len McCluskey. It means no blank cheques for the Labour Party but a real effort to influence and change policy away from the failures of New Labour. It means hundreds and thousands more UNITE members joining Labour and standing as working class candidates in the next election. It means coordinated action at all levels in the party to fight for a repeal of the anti-union laws, no more privatisation of public services, and a bigger share of the national cake for working people. Finally it was Len’s idea to set up the new left think tank CLASS to change the political debate. Jerry would try to pull us out of the Labour Party and give us no political voice at all.


“Jerry will introduce elections for Full-Time Officers”

He’ll have a job! This was heavily voted down at UNITE lay member Rules Conference only 18 months ago. Even a General Secretary can’t overturn that! Do we want elected Full-Time Officers who will not be accountable to the Union but to the biggest branch on their patch? Would elected officers have more power than shop stewards – our elected lay officials? Maybe not such a good idea Jerry!


“Jerry will back strike action and will not be frightened of challenging the law”

Well this one really should frighten the membership! Breaking the anti-union laws could lead to UNITE being bankrupted within months of Jerry taking office! On the other hand Len McCluskey has taken carefully planned risks to back our membership e.g. over the London Bus Workers strike last year when he authorised strike action in the face of 3 injunctions. But he has the experience and the knowledge to make decisions to push the law to the limits without endangering the fabric of OUR union.


It’s no contest between Len McCluskey and Jerry Hicks

Len McCluskey in his first 2 years has demonstrated real leadership qualities, and a commitment to lay member democracy and a fighting back culture. He has tackled major challenges within the union’s internal structure, including delivering sound finances in our £160M organisation. What has Jerry got to say about internal reorganisation to make UNITE fit for purpose? What has Jerry said about pursuing our organising drive to build our Union’s membership and give real union power in the workplace? How will Jerry deal with negotiations with UNITE officers and staff? He has no experience and plays no part in any of UNITE’s organisation, and has no representative role. There’s simply no contest! 

Friday, 15 March 2013

Unite GS Election Message from Martin Mayer

UNITED LEFT, which holds a strong majority on UNITE's Executive Council, is backing a General Secretary election to give Len McCluskey a new fiveyear mandate. This will give us time to complete the merger and make UNITE "fit for purpose". It also delays the next GS election some two years after the General Election 2015, avoiding a clash which would invite outside interference. This is an astute political decsion by United Left to maximise Len's term of office and embed the left in our new Union.
Len's record over his first two years in office been an extraordinary success. Together with a left Executive we are building the best and biggest fighting back union in Britain and Ireland.
Here are just some of Len's achievements as a Left General Secretary:
  • Real leadership in the fight against austerity - UNITE's message is clear: "no to all cuts-don't make workers pay for the crisis"
  • Real progress in branch reorganisation to create workplace branches
  • £25M dispute fund set up
  • Major resources devoted to our highly successful Leverage strategy in disputes
  • A genuine fighting back strategy that is seeing real wins for UNITE workers when they take strike action
  • Community membership introduced - a first in the union movement
  • 50,000 new members from a relaunched 100% campaign
  • Plans for a new conference/training centre in Birmingham city centre
  • New fightback in the Labour Party - no more blank cheques!
  • New ecomms strategy giving UNITE the best website and member contact in the union movement
  • Membership data systems overhauled and simplified
  • No repudiations of any dispute since Len took office
  • Root and branch review started of every UNITE department to make it "fit for purpose"
  • A tolerant open and democratic union
Len McCluskey's popularity within UNITE is riding high. A refreshed mandate for Len will strengthen UNITE's position as the leading Union in the fight against austerity. That's important not just for UNITE members but for the movement as a whole.
Martin Mayer Chair United Left

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

NEYH Local Authority Activists Endorse McCluskey

Activists from the North East, Yorkshire & Humberside Regional Industrial Sector Committee today endorsed Len McCluskey to continue as Unite the Union General Secretary.