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Press Release: Could an ordinary member win the election for General Secretary of the Countryís biggest union?

17 August 2010

Unite the Union Britain's largest and most influential Trade Union gears up for the election of its General Secretary. This election comes at a time when the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition is about to announce its plans for massive cuts to be set out in their Autumn Budget in October. All eyes will be on where any possible fight back may emanate. Given the size and make up of Unite, which represents over 1.5 million members in all sectors of the economy, this makes the election for the unionís General Secretary the most significant union election for decades.

Jerry Hicks, with over a quarter of the nominating period to go has already secured more than the required nominations to be able to declare that he will be a candidate in the coming election. Gaining support from every region and sector of the union.

He argues that there is no need for any cuts to public services, pay and pensions but that the collection of the £100bn worth of tax evasion by the very wealthy and big business should pay for the crisis that is not of Ďourí making.

He is in the unique position of being an ordinary member of the Union whereas the other three candidates are all appointed senior officials Ė Assistant General Secretaries 

The contrasts donít end there. He (Jerry Hicks) believes in elections of all union officials where none of the others do. He, if elected, would only take an average memberís wage where the others all would claim the six-figure salary.

He is the one candidate who argues that fundamental change is needed in the unionís relationship with New Labour which he describes as being - too close, too cosy, paying too much, for far too little. He argues for a restriction of support to only those MPs or councillors who vote for and actively campaign for Unite's policies, of which a priority  would be the repeal of all anti trade union laws.

This means the election will be especially significant, as it will run concurrently with the election for the leader of the Labour Party. Indeed on that basis it would be very questionable if any of the Labour leadership contenders other than Diane Abbott would be supported by Unite under Hicks.

Notes to Editors: Jerry Hicks having come second in the election for Joint General Secretary, Amicus section of Unite (one million members) less than 18 months ago is thought by many to be a possible winner in this election of the whole Union. Especially as union insiders report increasing concern amongst senior officials that Unite members may reject candidates seen as too close to the previous Labour Government. 

Jerry Hicks will be speking at a number of public meetings in Ireland at the end of September. 

Jerry Hicks can be contacted direct by phone on 078 178 279 12 or by email For more information visit

Please click to view the latest campaign video and the Leigh/Wigan branch hustings


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