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.

First Ian Allinson for Unite General Secretary leaflet

The first leaflet for the campaign to elect Ian Allinson as Unite General Secretary is now available for download.

Image of front page of ian4unite leafletWe will be getting the leaflets printed in bulk in the coming days. If you would like to order some to distribute in your own workplace, at nearby workplaces, at events etc., please fill in the form with your details, including the address to send them to and how many you need, or alternatively email

Printing and mailing out leaflets all costs money. Unlike the two establishment candidates, Ian Allinson isn’t paid from members’ subs, doesn’t have a big salary. Neither does he have rich and powerful backers. If you support the campaign, please donate. Members can donate either via, or by cheque payable to Ian Allinson, 11 Germain Close, Higher Blackley, Manchester, M9 0SQ. Branches can only donate after nominating. Donations will be receipted. Any member can inspect the campaign finances.

Ian Allinson backs Jeremy Corbyn

Ian Allinson, the grassroots socialist candidate, explains his support for Jeremy Corbyn and why Corbyn supporters in Unite should back him in the General Secretary election.

Corbyn speaking to large crowd from top of fire engine
Photo: Alan Gibbons

It is unusual for an internal union election to be so tied up with the question of who leads the Labour Party.

As soon as this unnecessary election been called we started hearing voices from the Labour right urging people to join Unite to take part in the General Secretary election and undermine Jeremy Corbyn. It is a disgrace if well paid activists on the Labour right, even MPs, are joining Unite Community for this reason. Unite’s Rulebook makes clear “Unite Community Membership shall be open to all not in paid employment as well as those not seeking employment“. Community membership is not intended as a cheap route for people in paid work and who have no genuine interest in Unite’s community organising to interfere in our democracy. It is telling that Labour’s right are much less vocal urging people to join unions to defend their communities, jobs and rights at work.

The Labour right haven’t learned from Labour’s last two election defeats (or the international experience) and still think it’s possible to win elections with identikit politicians and middle of the road (i.e. pro-market, pro-austerity, anti-union and pro-warmongering) policies. They have no answers for the declining living standards, crumbling services and warming planet we face, let alone the international rise of support for fascist and right-wing populist parties. The Labour right have found their champion in Gerard Coyne, who says we mustn’t be “distracted” by party politics and accuses Len McCluskey of playing Westminster power games. In fact Coyne is playing the biggest Westminster power game of all. Pulling Unite’s support away from Corbyn would mean turning the clock back to the days when Labour leaders attacked us rather than backed us.

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Ten ways you can support Ian Allinson for Unite General Secretary

Ian Allinson, standing as a workplace activist, doesn’t have the resources of the establishment candidates who are well-paid from members’ subs and have powerful backers. If you want things to change, please get involved.Elect Ian for UNITE Gen Sec

Get in touch via the leave your details form, email or phone 07985 438 553 to offer whatever help you can. For example:

  1. Email details if you are willing to publicly endorse Ian Allinson for Unite General Secretary.
  2. Request leaflets and other campaign materials – the campaign can suggest local workplaces you could contact.
  3. Like, follow, share and retweet on social media (Facebook, Twitter)
  4. Campaigning costs money. Can you donate or collect money? There’s a collection sheet here. Members can donate either via, or by cheque payable to Ian Allinson, 11 Germain Close, Higher Blackley, Manchester, M9 0SQ. Branches can only donate after nominating. Donations will be receipted. Any member can inspect the campaign finances.
  5. Suggest people the campaign should contact and provide their contact details. And why not contact other Unite members or activists yourself?
  6. Contact local media to promote the campaign.
  7. Send in your ideas for how Unite could improve.
  8. Let us know when your nomination meeting will be. Invite Ian or someone from the campaign to speak at your branch or workplace meeting, or to visit your workplace.
  9. If you want to nominate from your workplace, request nomination forms from your Regional Secretary from 2 January.
  10. Secure a nomination from your branch and/or workplace (see how to nominate me)

If you are campaigning for Ian, please stick to the rules and keep it constructive. The aim of the campaign is to improve Unite and encourage participation – personal abuse discourages participation.

Ian Allinson to stand against McCluskey and Coyne for Unite General Secretary

Ian Allinson
Ian Allinson

I have decided to seek nominations for the General Secretary election. It is essential that this election does not become a battle between Len McCluskey, offering more of the same, and Gerard Coyne, offering to turn the clock back to the bad old days when our union backed New Labour even while they attacked our own members – and saw membership decline. If members want to see a Corbyn government, Unite needs to shift the debate by fighting in workplaces and communities now, rather than relying so heavily on internal battles within Labour. This is the second time that Len McCluskey has foisted a premature election on us based on a false premise. Many activists recognise the election timetable as an undemocratic manoeuvre which minimises members’ voice.

I’ve been a workplace activist for 25 years at Fujitsu, building up the union in a largely unorganised industry. I led the first national strike in my industry in 2009-10. For ten years I served on the union’s executive before stepping down in 2014. I’m chair of Unite’s UK combine in Fujitsu, where my own workplace is currently in dispute and taking strike action over pay, pensions and job security. Nationally we’re fighting against job cuts from automation and offshoring.

Members have fought off attempts to victimise me and other reps. Unlike the two establishment candidates, I’m in the workplace, at the sharp end like the thousands of other reps and activists who make Unite the fighting union it is today.

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