Rank and file candidate Jerry Hicks will challenge Len McCluskey for general secretary of the Unite union.
Jerry has won more than enough nominations for his campaign to go ahead.
The Electoral Reform Service confirmed 56 of his nominations on Friday of last week.
“This is not just good news, it’s fantastic,” Jerry told Socialist Worker. “We’ve cleared the first hurdle, which was a major hurdle.
“It’s a major victory, and a vindication of all those who decided to support me—because this was an election that was designed never to happen.”
Current Unite general secretary McCluskey called the election in December last year.
The snap timetable made it very difficult for any other candidate to put up a challenge.
But Jerry’s call for the union to lead a fight against the Tories and the bosses has struck a chord with workers.
“I’ve been getting texts and emails of support all weekend,” said Jerry.
“The other day I was in Bath, where Ken Loach was showing footage of the miners in Orgreave.
“Then I got a call from a woman in Doncaster whose husband had been a picket at Orgreave, to say that her branch had voted to nominate me.”
Public and private sector workers have enthusiastically backed Jerry’s campaign.
Just this week Jerry won the nomination of his old Rolls Royce workplace—eight years after bosses sacked him.
Unite members still have until the end of next week to get the maximum number of nominations in for Jerry. And the fight is on to get as many votes as possible.
“It’s not just my campaign—I really want to encourage everyone to be part of it,” says Jerry.
“People can call me with ideas for leaflets, or to make a small donation to pay for them.”
Unite has 1.5 million members in factories and offices, hospitals and universities, buses and lorries and across Britain and Ireland. Wherever you are, there are sure to be Unite members nearby.
Jerry’s supporters have made sure those members will get a choice of general secretary.
Now the task is to talk to all those workers about Jerry’s arguments—for coordinated action in the public sector and resistance to the job losses in the private sector. He wants to turn McCluskey’s promise that there would be “no blank cheque” for a Labour Party that keeps attacking workers into a reality.
For leaflets and campaign materials www.jerryhicks4gs.org