Ian Allinson, grassroots socialist candidate for Unite General Secretary
Communication, participation and a bottom-up union
Champion lay member democracy and participation, don’t undermine it.
Fortnightly email bulletins direct to all activists, not filtered through officers and committees.
Support members being able to elect the officers who represent us. Not only would this increase accountability, it would reduce the power of patronage and the climate of fear in the union.
Tackle the non-functioning branches that deny members a voice and access to resources.
Oppose the exclusion of community and retired members from participation in Unite structures. [video]
I’d keep my current wage, not the inflated General Secretary salary, to avoid giving the hostile media ammunition against us.
A stronger union, fit for the future
Involve members, officers and staff in a major review of Unite’s structures to make them fit for purpose in the 21st century. Shift resources and power away from regions to better support the vast majority of Unite workplaces that are in employers spanning multiple regions. Improve support for company and sub-sector combine committees.
Encourage a spirit of experimentation in organising. Document and publicise case studies of lessons from members’ organising and campaigning efforts and successes. We spend too much effort trying to reinvent the wheel. [video]
A flexible facility for levies for strike funds etc, not restricted to where all members are in workplace branches.
Access to a Dispute Unit for all disputes from an early stage. All members in dispute should feel like they have a million members behind them, not be left to fend for themselves.
Expand the lay companion scheme to involve more members (including those not in paid work) and free up officer time from casework.
Overhaul education, which is essential for organising and changing the union’s culture, in the light of funding cuts, and ensure fair treatment for our tutors.
Build on our organising success by increasing lay member involvement.
Equality and young members’ issues in our industrial agenda, not an optional extra
Tackle bullying and sexual harassment, including within our own union (also see report). Consultation over urgent implementation of the following measures: A review of all the union’s education and training for members and staff to raise the understanding of equality and diversity of everyone actively involved with the union; A review of the union’s women’s structures to ensure they provide a representative voice for Unite women, champion issues of particular concern to women, and provide a route to participation in Unite for members who face additional barriers due to sexism; Ending the requirement for Regional Women’s and Equalities Officer roles to be done as a part-job alongside an industrial allocation, so that equality issues have more focus and resource; Extending the recommendations of the Women Officers in Unite report to all women employed by union; A review of Unites grievance and complaints procedures to remove any bias against women who make complaints related to discrimination, bullying or harassment; Make equality and diversity a standing agenda item for all Unite’s constitutional committees.
Campaign now: backing Corbyn shouldn’t mean waiting for him
Extend Unite’s support for Jeremy Corbyn, not only through Unite’s role inside the Labour Party, but by grass roots campaigning and action which can win people over. Stop undermining him on key policies and calling his leadership into question. [video]
Fight for workers’ rights, don’t tail our employers’ agendas
Organise regional conferences bringing together campaigns for civil liberties and against state repression, so that our opposition to anti-union legislation stops being isolated and ineffective.
Challenge the culture of partnership – we are not “all in it together”. Post-Brexit Unite should be prioritising defence of workers’ rights, not tailing employers’ demands for free trade or protectionism.
Support a million climate jobs, not costly and destructive vanity projects like Trident, HS2, Heathrow expansion and Hinkley Point. Proactively fight for diversification to protect members whose jobs will be affected by changes such as climate change, changes in defence policy and automation. Call a conference of defence workers, the defence teams from Labour and the SNP, and experts on diversification.
Investigate the role of union officials in blacklisting members. Officially extend every assistance to the Blacklist Support Group in rooting out collusion and backdoor deals with the employers.