Sunday, 10 February 2013

Press release from General Secretary candidate Jerry Hicks

Historic vote for right of Gay marriage mirrors Unites values and policies

This month is LGBT history month, and the recent vote in the House of Commons in favour of gay marriage certainly was a ‘history making’ moment. It marks another important milestone in the path towards LGBT equality since 1967 when sex between two men was no longer a criminal offence. Every step that breaks down the institutionalised discrimination of people based on their sexual or gender orientation is a step forward for everyone.
Unite UK’s biggest Trade Union with 1.5 million members celebrates LGBT History month with various events around the country and it’s equalities structures show that equality is not just an ‘add on’ extra to industrial work.
Jerry Hicks a candidate in the election for Unite General Secretary said “In today’s workforce, which is more diverse than ever, equalities issues are industrial issues. We want to create working environments where everyone, regardless of how they define their sexuality or gender, feels comfortable in ‘coming out’ and can do so without fear of bullying, recrimination or discrimination.
Jerry Hicks added “The vote in favour of gay marriage moves that forward, but we should not underestimate the work it has taken to get this far and how much more work still remains to be done. Activists had to fight within the trade union movement itself for equality issues to be taken seriously”.
Now many unions in Britain have structures and conferences especially dedicated to this area of work. But we cannot be complacent as they still remain vulnerable.  Just last year we saw the Fire Brigades Union conference vote to remove guaranteed voting rights for minority constituencies.
But the parliamentary vote also reveals a darker side. It should surprise no one that a large hard core of Tories voted against equal marriage. But what is more disturbing is that 23 Labour MPs also voted against the bill, and those included Unite supported MP’s.
Bills concerning issues of equality, such as LGBT rights, abortion rights, are said to be down to ‘individual conscience’. This can result in a bigoted view being masked. However, for Unite, the fight for equality is not a ‘take it or leave it’ option, it is a core part of our union policy.
Jerry Hicks was scathing when he said “This is just one more example of where Unite backed MPs are happy to take the union’s support and money, whilst actively voting in opposition to our own core principles. It is simply no longer acceptable to continue in this way.
We need to know is what steps Unite took with respect to this vote to make sure our MPs understood the importance we place on equality issues. What Unite is now doing to let them know how disappointed members will be. And what Unite intends doing from now on to make sure that Unite backed MP’s reflect, fight, and vote, for legislation in line with all of Unite’s policies.

Notes to Editor: Jerry Hicks was unlawfully sacked by Rolls Royce in 2005. He is on the now infamous illegal blacklist of workers and is among 100 other in a class action High Court case represented by Guney Clark & Ryan Solicitors.

Unite is currently holding an election for its General Secretary, in which there are only two candidates, Jerry Hicks and Len  McCluskey.

Jerry Hicks was runner up in Unites General Secretary election of 2010 beating two Assistant General Secretaries and securing 52,527 votes.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

UNITE Press Release: Former print boss disqualified for false invoicing

Former print boss disqualified for false invoicing

Print workers will not be shedding any tears for Mike Dolan, the former boss of the long established book printers Butler and Tanner who has been disqualified from holding a directorship for eight years for false invoicing.

Mike Dolan and Ben Crozier, directors of the failed print group Media & Print Investments (MPI), were disqualified for eight years each from 1 February 2013 at a court hearing on 11 January. The court found that MPI had breached its factoring agreement by raising two false invoices totalling £440,461 and obtaining payment on them.

In 2008 Mr Dolan tried to impose cuts to pay and conditions on staff at Butler and Tanner as well as making demands on working time, holidays and shift patterns which went well below print industry standards. The Unite chapel at the company refused to be bullied into submission, which led to a bitter and lawful dispute at its Frome factory in Somerset. The company was eventually bought by publisher Felix Dennis.

Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke said: 

"Unite print workers will not be shedding any tears for Mike Dolan. Back in 2008 he waged a bitter war against his loyal and dedicated workforce in Somerset, at a print company with an amazing legacy.
"Mr. Dolan tried to blame Unite for his downfall - which is nonsense. The true facts came out in the insolvency hearing. Unite said at the time that there was no place in the print industry for Mr Dolan and this judgement proves that our judgement was right."

Monday, 4 February 2013

Latest press release from Jerry Hicks re: UNITE General Secretary election

Below I paste the latest press release from Jerry Hick's campaign. Whilst it's clear there will now at least be a contested election, Unite branches and workplaces still have til 15th Feb to nominate (just make sure you follow the procedures and give due notice to members)! If you'e unsure how to do this, check out the very useful post (link below) from Ian's Unite site.

Breaking News: Press release Press release Press release: Immediate 03/02/13
Shock for Unite Trade Union establishment as Jerry Hicks challenges Len McCluskey in election for General Secretary.
It has been confirmed by the Electoral Reform Service [ERS] that rank and file Unite member Jerry Hicks has secured more than the 50 required nominations to be the only other candidate in the election for Unite General Secretary, challenging Len McCluskey for the position.
Jerry Hicks said This election should never have been called when McCluskey still had 3 years to go. Our members and their families face massive attacks and Unite’s time, energy and resources should be used to fight the Con Dem cuts and defend our members’ jobs, pensions, terms and conditions.”
Mr McCluskey announced the snap election, dragging it forward 3 years and pushing it through at break neck speed on the false premise of avoiding a clash with the 2015 General Election.
Many in Unite thought that the election would never actually happen, but the nomination ‘success’ of Jerry Hicks against all the odds and many manoeuvres, means that all of Unite’s 1.5 million members will be balloted from March 18th to April 14th and it’s they who will choose who is to be their next General Secretary
Jerry Hicks was quick to pay tribute to all those members and branches who have nominated him,  pointing out that had it not been for them Mr McCluskey would have been unopposed, extending his time in office to 2018 when he becomes 67 whilst denying members a vote.
Now that the election is actually going to happen the contrast between the two candidates will become evident and already there are clear differences:
Jerry Hicks has promised to take just an average workers wage while McCluskey draws a pay package of £100,000
Jerry Hicks says members should tell the union who they want to represent them by electing their officials. Mr McCluskey backs to the hilt the current system of appointing officials
Mr McCluskey talks about reclaiming Labour but with no evidence of any change. He has promised ‘no blank cheques’ [2010] yet has lavished over £6m on Labour with pitiful returns. Jerry Hicks has a far less complicated approach - of payment by results, funding Labour only when they do the right thing. And he says that McCluskey made the wrong decision when backing Ed Miliband for Labour leader, he should have, as Jerry Hicks did, backed John McDonnell
Jerry Hicks said “McCluskey makes tub thumping speeches but fails to turn the rhetoric into reality as with the failure to back co-ordinated public sector strike action last March. Now McCluskey chooses to deliver a fiery speech in a university theatre for the Ralph Miliband lecture, then heads off to Dundee for some ‘self promoting’ electioneering. I would have made that speech in the car park of Honda at Swindon where 800 job losses were announced the same week. I would have made that speech at Rolls Royce’s Ansty factory in Coventry, where half the workforce faces the sack.”
Jerry Hicks argues that in the case of branch re-organisation, the development of Community branches is a good thing but has been painfully slow. The orientation to workplace branches is progressive as that is where industrial power lies, but is chaotic and far too dictatorial. And that tens of thousands of retired members feel disconnected. Unite is a union not a business yet it looks much like a big company, with jobs for life and a layer of officials more the equivalent of directors who simply don’t live the same lives as the members. Our union gets its money from the pockets of the members and we deserve more, much more.
Notes to Editor:
Jerry Hicks was unlawfully sacked by Rolls Royce in 2005. He is on the now infamous illegal blacklist of workers and is among 100 other in a class action High Court case represented by Guney Clark & Ryan Solicitors.
Unite is the biggest union in the UK with 1.5 million members.
Unite is currently holding an election for its General Secretary, in which there are only two candidates, Jerry Hicks and Len McCluskey.
Jerry Hicks was runner up in Unites General Secretary election of 2010 beating two Assistant General Secretaries and securing 52,527 votes.
He can be contacted by mobile             078 178 279 12       or email
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