Broad Left: 'Vote for Hicks'

Today we publish in full an article by the respected ex Chair of the Broad Left in the AEEU and then Amicus, Jimmy Warne.  Jimmy was chair of the union's Left, the  'Gazette' group, from 2001-2006 and is currently chair of the Newcastle Central branch of Unite.   He was the union's Education Officer.  Jimmy also had a starring role in 'Baylissgate the movie'.


Jimmy Warne
So here we are again. Some ten years ago we all came together on the Left to remove Sir Ken Jackson and replace him with someone we all hoped would honour his election pledges. Now the circle has completely turned, we find ourselves asking the exact same questions we posed ten years ago.

The 600 word statements from the candidates have just dropped through our letter boxes and what do we see? Two managers Bayliss and Cartmail and another manager who is trying to ride two horses with one arse in McCluskey (and failing miserably in the process, as anyone with the debacle of BA hanging over his head would be). And then there is Jerry Hicks, his statement of intent is clear, his message is totally different from the rest and thank God for that.

Let us investigate further. What do Bayliss, Cartmail and McCluskey have in common? Well the answer is simple; they have all been found wanting by the people they represent. Let me give my view:

Firstly there is Mr Bayliss and his attempts to water down his own members skills in the Construction Industry, only thwarted by a well organised Shop-stewards Committee and decent people like Phil Willis.  This was when the Union tried to get the members to accept a semi skilled training scheme which would have flooded the construction sites, stopping skilled men and women working.  The national shop stewards committee refused to accept it.

Then of course there is Gail Cartmail. Let no-one forget that she was a prime mover in pushing through 'Agenda for Change' in the Health Service and all the horrors which that has foisted on our members in that section. Many members actually lost pay!

Finally there is Len McCluskey . Poor old Len - when even his own General Secretary denounces his members in British Airways and in the process hands the advantage to Willie Walsh, what does Len do in response? Does he call for an investigation into why Simpson did what he did? Answer no. Does he mount a strident defence of our members in that Industry telling Simpson to mind his own business? Answer no. So what does he do? Answer, a big fat zero, absolutely nothing.

Messrs. Bayliss. Cartmail and McCluskey
There is of course one other thing that these three individuals have in common. They are all paid huge sums of money, their salaries are an outrage to ordinary members. How can they represent working people while on that wage?  They are three bulging peas in a fat pod.

Jerry Hicks

Then there is Jerry Hicks, a breath of fresh air.  He will take the average salary of about £30,000 as opposed to the £100,000 plus of his rivals. Not only does he have the high moral ground here but, would you believe it, he wants to fight for our members to boot!

No ten year plans to take back the Labour Party, no more cosy deals with employers, just out there on the stump defending our members wherever they are, regardless of the issues involved. The momentum is with him - 32 bus depots in London actually produced their own 'support Jerry Hicks' leaflets then handed them out.

Only Jerry Hicks has said 'enough is enough'. What kind of Union sits back and watches when its own members cannot show their faces for fear of reprisals from Willie Walsh, their words spoken by actors even though the strike is legitimate? I will tell you what kind of Union does that, a Union that employs the likes of Bayliss, Cartmail and McCluskey. These people are all part of the problem, and if they are not, why the stony silence?

Only Jerry Hicks out of the four candidates has the answer. It's not about free diaries, or ten year plans, it's not even about what sex you are.  It is quite simply do we defend ourselves and this Union.

When you cast your ballot in this next election remember that the freedoms and rights that we have now were not given to us because employers and governments liked us and thought we deserved them, we had to fight for them, sometimes long and hard fights, but that I am afraid is real life and we had all better start to realise it.

I have written this article for as once again I could not bring myself to say nothing in the face of such cant from Messrs. Bayliss, Cartmail and McCluskey.

Jimmy Warne                                                   

Pictures and links added by Jimmy is currently awaiting a Employment tribunal's judgement on an illegal attempt by the union to expel him.  The judgement will appear here as soon as it is published.

DON'T WASTE YOUR VOTE: Jerry Hicks came second in Unite's 2009 election for General Secretary, comfortably beating 2 paid officials and losing only to the incumbent General Secretary. There is no incumbent in this election.

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