Unite leadership candidate Ian Allinson says “This is a three horse race”

Candidates in the Unite General Secretary election campaign have today received official confirmation of branches and workplaces that nominated them.Photo of Ian Allinson

Ian Allinson, the only grassroots candidate in the election, received a total of 97 nominations including 21 workplace nominations.

Allinson said:

“This election is clearly a three horse race. The number of nominations I have is very impressive for a grassroots candidate”.

“The other two candidates are well placed in the union machine, Len McCluskey is the incumbent General Secretary and Gerard Coyne has been West Midlands Regional Secretary for fifteen years. Their campaigns have funding and resources to match.”

“We live in an era of political upsets – we should rule nothing out in this election. Gerard Coyne doesn’t seem to be quite the right wing threat that the press have been talking up.”

“My nominations have come from members who want to see a more serious fightback and workplace issues brought forward in the union. They come from members who want brave leadership on issues they care about, green jobs, defending of refugees and migrants, and improving equality and diversity within Unite itself”.

Yesterday Ian Allinson was on the picket line at his own workplace, Fujitsu in Manchester, as part of a national strike over job cuts, union recognition, pay and pensions.

On Saturday Allinson will join the #ourNHS demonstration in central London.

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Ian Allinson WILL be on the ballot paper for Unite General Secretary

Yesterday Unite sent me the official notification that I have passed the 50 nominations required to be a candidate in the General Secretary election. I know of many more branches and workplace that have nominated me but whose nominations have not yet been received and accepted. If you haven’t yet submitted your nomination (online is best for branches, workplaces have to do it by post) please do so right away.

Photo of Ian Allinson
Photo: Steve Eason

This whole election was arranged to benefit one candidate who wanted to cling on to office. It was called unexpectedly. The nomination period was halved. Despite stepping down so that Gail Cartmail is Acting General Secretary during the election, Len McCluskey continues to be promoted by Unite through press releases, statements and events. Running a campaign on a shoe-string I have faced two wealthy opponents with powerful backers. Yet members have decided that there will be a real contest. This election will not be reduced to a choice between more of the same with McCluskey, or turning the clock back politically and industrially with Coyne. Instead, members will be able to debate how to make our union stronger and more effective.

If we are to shake up Unite, this can only be done collectively. If you agree with what I’m standing for, get involved. If you haven’t already done so, please register using this form so that the campaign team can put you in touch with others in your sector or region. The campaign will be holding an organising meeting for supporters (not a public meeting) on Saturday 25th February in London where we can discuss how the campaign has gone so far and plan our next steps. If you’re a supporter – please come along.

The next phase of the campaign will be on a far bigger scale than nominations. We will need more leaflets, more events and more visits to workplaces. All this will require money. I’ve used most of my year’s annual leave on the campaign already. As a grassroots member I’m in no position to fund the campaign myself. If I can raise the money I hope to get unpaid leave to take the campaign round the UK and Ireland. Individuals can donate. You could take a collection in your workplace or branch. Branches which have nominated me can also donate.

Members have already sent a shockwave through Unite by getting me on the ballot paper. This wasn’t supposed to happen, but it has. Who knows what else is possible…

Video: Ian Allinson speaking at London launch of campaign for Unite General Secretary

On Saturday Ian Allinson, the grassroots socialist candidate for Unite General Secretary, spoke at campaign meetings in London and Cambridge. Below you can watch his speech at the London meeting.

If you’d like to support the campaign to elect Ian, please leave your details, and get in touch if you’d like to invite Ian to a meeting or hustings. Tomorrow nominations open. Here are details of how to nominate Ian.

Time to arrange your Unite General Secretary nomination meeting

This week Unite should be sending out letters and forms to branch secretaries to enable them to organise branch nomination meetings for General Secretary and the Executive Council. Where a branch covers more than one workplace, the workplace can also make a nomination, but the rep needs to contact the Regional Secretary to request the necessary paperwork now.

Nomination meetings must take place between Monday 16 January and Friday 17 February 2017.

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Will Unite break its own election rules?

Ian Allinson, the grassroots socialist candidate for Unite General Secretary, is calling on Unite to stick to its own election rules, and on Len McCluskey and Gerard Coyne to agree to livestreamed hustings so that members can make up their minds on the strength of the arguments about the pressing issues we face.

This General Secretary election shouldn’t even be happening. For the second time Len McCluskey has forced an early election, resulting in timing that benefits only one candidate, himself. Only he knew the election was coming, so only he was unaffected by the compressed timescale for the campaign and nominations.

Almost all the information about the election process has been removed from the Unite web site, but I was sent a copy of the ballot guidelines by email in response to a request.

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Video: Ian Allinson explains why he is standing for Unite General Secretary

While the other candidates may have huge campaign budgets, films that look like slick party political broadcasts, and friends in the media, the campaign to elect workplace activist Ian Allinson as Unite General Secretary in 2017 only has arguments and the efforts of volunteers.

This short film summarises why Ian is standing. There’s more detail here and elsewhere on this web site.

If you like what Ian has to say, please get involved, and make sure you branch and/or workplace nominates Ian Allinson between 16 January and 17 February 2017.