“We note that in 2017, the presence of a third candidate resulted in Len McCluskey defeating Gerard Coyne by a margin of only 3.9 points, & that Len had the advantage of incumbency.”
We publish below an Open Letter to Sharon Graham we have been sent today from 1000s of Unite activists:
It is vital that under its next General Secretary, Unite remains a campaigning union, one that defends workers by opposing this government and by campaigning for popular socialist policies.
We welcome that you, as well as Steve Turner, have committed to this platform, and we note how your campaigns and Steve’s have together attracted an inspiring array of very different supporters. But we now need to unite around the candidate best placed to represent them all – and to win.
We note that in 2017, the presence of a third candidate resulted in Len McCluskey defeating Gerard Coyne by a margin of only 3.9 points, and that Len had the advantage of incumbency.
This year, if there is more than one left candidate on the ballot paper, it would not “give members on the left a choice” in any meaningful sense. Instead, it would drastically reduce those members’ influence over who wins. It would all but hand the role of General Secretary to an individual whose leadership would seriously undermine the immediate interests of Unite members and harm the long term interests of all workers in this country.
We know you want to stop this too. But after several years of increasing influence, the left of our movement is in retreat. The consequences of a further defeat would be felt for a generation. The circumstances through which it came about would be remembered too.
Consequently, we are calling, in the strongest terms, for you to support Steve Turner’s candidacy for the position of Unite General Secretary. Your campaign has gained significant numbers of branch nominations, but Steve is far ahead and has been nominated by a larger number of the bigger branches. We also note that Steve won the United Left hustings. This will be a two-horse race.
With the left unified behind one individual, we could all throw ourselves into campaigning for him. This fight will require the organising skills, the digital resources and the passion of our entire movement.
This election is more important -and our movement is bigger -than any one person. We expect our movement’s leaders to demonstrate that they understand this.
Jayne Taylor, Vice Chair Unite the Union and Labour Party NEC member
Andy Worth, SW/8127 Branch Chair, Southwest Region Vice Chair
Bronwen Handyside, Vice-chair Unite London & Eastern Region
Dave Quayle Chair National Political Committee (NLPLC)
Elaine Bolton, SE/6217, National Labour Party Liaison Committee
James Mason-NW63-Executive Council Member-Young Members
SeatJan Bastable, Chair SE F&L RISC, Vice Chair F&L NISC, Chair SE Women’s Committee, delegate to SE Regional Committee, Senior Workplace Rep, SE/6158 Prudential Reading Abbey Gardens
Keith Stoddart, Chair Unite Community West of ScotlandKerry Wilks Unite Community Teesside & Durham National Forum Chair
Maggie Roberts, Deputy Chair National Retired Members Committee, Bristol Retired Members Branch
Ruth Hayes (Branch Secretary; Chair Community Youth Workers & Not for Profit RISC London and Eastern; Chair CYWNFP National Insustrial Sector Committee and EC representative for CYWNfP sector & over 1000 more Unite activists.
NOTE: You can see the full list of signatories to this letter – which was originally addressed to both Sharon Graham & Howard Beckett – at https://pdfhost.io/v/xpmoxDMCN_Open_letter_Unite.pdf