Gail/Len/Bill/Martin Love Square Scandal

As we predicted the person who came last in the Unite General Secretary election is now getting on fabulously with the winner.  Gail Cartmail's first words on losing were pointedly:
I would like to congratulate Len on his success in the ballot and I look forward to working with him
The love fest was reciprocated by Martin Mayer, commandant of the Len McCluskey Club that calls itself 'United Left' (UL).  Four days after the official result he sent an email to all the 193 members of UL entitled "Gail Cartmel[sic]'s  piece on NHS" (He hasn't quite got a handle on how to spell her name yet) and said
"Well done Gail Cartmel for this article on NHS privatisation.
Martin Mayer"
Attached to it was a document purported to be written by Cartmail, the unelected Unite Assistant General Secretary. Oddly though there is no trace of the document on Cartmail's Blog (as at 30 Nov).  In fact there is an entirely different article on the same subject.
Even odder is that although the article is subtitled 'By Gail Cartmail',  if you look at the properties of the document, as all 193 UL members can (click 'file' then 'properties') it says Author : Bill Ronskley.

Who is Bill Ronksley? And what a great name for Google.  It turns out that Ronksley is secretary of Martin Mayer's Trade Council .  What a small, small world....

'No, no I didn't mean it boss, vote Len'
What next?  We reckon Simon Dubbins, Unite's International Director, who, after setting up his campaign website then stood down in favour of McCluskey, deserves some Club Len Love too.

New! rumours abound that Bayliss is on his way out of his £133K a year union job.

Message from Jerry Hicks

"Standing on the shoulders of 52,527 giants"! 

Please can I take this opportunity to convey a massive thank you to all those who contributed in our campaign and produced a result that the media and political parties said was not possible. To our great credit we always believed and knew otherwise.

Disappointed? For sure. A magnificent achievement? Absolutely.

Our message, was vastly different to any of the other candidates, as were the resources! So, finishing second and in doing so beating not one but two Assistant General Secrtaries was incredible. It proved that we were right when we, and only we, said it was a two horse race and that we actually could have won.

However we did not win, but it is up to us now to decide what, if anything, we wish to do next in order to give a voice to the hundreds of branches and workplaces that nominated us and the 52,527 people who voted for us.

So please give these matters some thought and

General Secretary Election Results

Timed at 1pm Sunday 21st November.  Updated with approx figures 5:30pm.

McCluskey 101,000 votes 42% 
Hicks  52,000 votes 22% 
Bayliss  46,000 votes 19% 
Cartmail 39,000 votes 16%

Turnout 15.8%. has it first.

Points to note:

  • Considering Hicks was the only non management candidate he has had a fantastic result. Not to mention the huge amount of money spent by the other candidates.
  • A tiny 6.7% of all members voted for McCluskey and he did not even get half of those who did vote - what sort of mandate is that?
  • McCluskey has to retire in 4 years time due to his age (61). Unless he forges his  birth certificate (as has already been suggested by his supporters club). Or he changes the union rule book. And breaks his promise to go at 65.
  • The stupid claim that "a vote for Hicks was a vote for Bayliss" has been soundly disproved, just as it was in the 2009 election when it was alleged that a vote for Hicks was a vote for Coyne.
New! Message from Jerry Hicks

Press announcement here

Incidentally don't be surprised if McCluskey awards Gail Cartmail a senior position in the union for her role in taking Amicus votes off Hicks and Bayliss, watch this space.

McCluskey set to win

Unite - been ill a long time
Sadly regret to be the first to predict a McCluskey win in the election for General Secretary of Unite at 5pm on Saturday 20th Nov 2010.  This is based on a 15.7% turnout.  Full result expected tomorrow (Sunday).  

The turnout is high by the union's appalling standards, in the last General Secretary election in 2009  it was a record at 15% and this was credited to Jerry Hick's grass roots campaign.  At the last Executive elections in 2008 it was 9.7% on the TGWU side  and 8.9% on Amicus's.

With Deepest Sympathy to all our members.

No flowers please.

The Election in Numbers

"It's not the people who vote that count; It's the people who count the votes" Stalin (attrib).
1,509,500 ballot papers sent out (source: Electoral Reform Services)
1,449,669 members for whom the union has addresses (source: Union's latest Annual Return)
1,314,821 paying members (source: Union's latest Annual Return)
    150,000 likely voters (based on a typical 10% turnout)
If you are one of the many members who did not receive a ballot paper, despite hassling both the union and ERS, you will not find those figures amusing.

We append below the text of a complaint to Electoral Reform Services submitted on 24th September 2010.

Dear Mr Hearn,

Unite General Secretary election. In confidence.

You may recall that I visited Electoral Reform Services with a candidate on 20th Nov 2008, to inspect the votes you counted for the Unite Executive election of that year.

On that visit we raised our concern that the members' address list, used to send out ballot papers, may contain large numbers of members at the same address and that you did not check this, or keep records of it. You were unable to identify any ballot papers sent out in that way or to provide us with any anonymised data on how many ballot papers went to how many multiple addresses.  We had some further correspondence with you and in an email entitled "Unite/T&G Election 2008" dated 27 Nov 2008 you wrote to us:

"A check on whether multiple ballot papers are going to the same address is not carried out."

It seems to us that this an obvious way for a union to rig a ballot since the union supply the address list.  ERS would not notice it and would endorse any ballot rigged in this way.  Furthermore any candidate checking the votes cast would not be able to detect this. This appears to us to be a serious flaw in your counting and verification arrangements. It may also be a breach of section 51(a) of the Trade Union and Labour relations Act 1992:

"51 Voting
(5) The ballot shall be conducted so as to secure that—
(a) so far as is reasonably practicable, those voting do so in secret, ..."

If only because if 1,000 ballot papers went to the same address that cannot be taking all reasonable and practical steps to keep the voting secret. 

Please would you assure us that this flaw has been or will be rectified before the General Secretary election ballot commences, outline to us how you have rectified it and assure us that any candidate will be able to inspect this aspect of the ballot afterwards.

Lastly I ask that you keep this email confidential and not disclose its existence or contents to the union or to those three candidates who are employees of the union, or their representatives, or to disclose to the union that you are implementing a check or changing your procedures regarding this issue. 

We would regard disclosure on your part as partial and consider it might facilitate fraud by forewarning employees of the union thus allowing the possibility of them devising alternative methods.  You should be aware that two of the candidates who are union employees have been arrested in the past, one as part of a police inquiry into ballot rigging (paragraph 36) and one by the Fraud Squad (paragraph 8 (internal notes of the union’s legal director)) . I willingly add that although the last one remained under investigation for 2 years neither were charged.

Read about the 2008 election, the TGWU's very careful voters and their incredibly low spoilt ballot rates here.

'United Left' Ban Another Left Activist

UL's Commandant Martin Meyer's cameo role in 'The Wall'
The tiny (193 members) group that purports to be the 'United left' or even more unbelievably 'Broad Left' in the union are now down to 192 members after banning one more. 192 members out of a union of 1.5 million!

Today Mark of Unite Central branch was removed after daring to write:
"Make sure you don’t have any regrets after the Election.
Make sure that you don't feel that you have been used and spat out by another highly paid Union Officer to get another pay rise.
Make sure that you don’t have that empty feeling that nothing has been gained by this election.
Make sure that you are not bullied by others.
Make sure you vote for Jerry Hicks"
This was in response to a mailing by the 'McCluskey Club' urging voters to support the Machine.  There must be a limit to how many members the tiny group can ban before it disappears up its own arse...

Previously banned and airbrushed was the editor of We attach one of those airbrushed out posts here, exposing an old betrayal by the

Unite People's Front, People's Unite Front

If you've ever wondered about the background to the current election in Unite, in particular which faction has been stabbing which other faction in the back, then has come across an article which we can't fault: The Left and the Jerry Hicks campaign (Why the Socialist Party and AWL have got it wrong).

It's a little long but persevere.   It has a great quote from one notorious faction, the Alliance for Workers Liberty (AWL), a weirdly Zionist Trotskyist group:
"Calling for a vote for McCluskey does not mean relying on him to deliver what he says he stands for. McCluskey has not done it so far, in his capacity as Assistant General Secretary. And there is no reason to suppose that he would deliver in the role of General Secretary."
Believe it or not, AWL are aggressively supporting McCluskey. The article also has a new account of the infamously stitched-up 'United Left' meeting that selected McCluskey, which we reported on in September.

New! Another good article, more 'technical' and less penetrable, from the Communist Party of Great Britain:
The 'United Left' has no internal democracy and there is no chance of ever getting it. It is dominated in terms of personnel and ideology by full-timers and union employees, whose career advancement depends on doing the bureaucracy’s bidding. They guard the portals of the organisation. If you ever looked like democratising that body and allowing in the ranks in struggle, it would be ‘Goodbye, gobshite’.