By Dan Sartin
UNISON’s recent general secretary election result saw existing assistant general secretary Christina McAnea win. But the result was the closest ever.
Previous general secretary Dave Prentis had had majorities of 143,383 (in 2005) and 103,200 (in 2010). This time Ms McAnea’s majority of 18,650 (63,900 votes to Paul Holmes’s 45,220) was the smallest ever by the winner in a UNISON general secretary election.
Paul Holmes is an ordinary member of UNISON who is on UNISON’s National Executive Committee. Paul got 34% of the vote – the highest percentage vote ever achieved by a candidate coming second and the highest ever percentage vote by an ordinary member.
Another assistant general secretary, Roger McKenzie (14,450 votes) and Socialist Party member, Hugo Pierre (10,382 votes) came third and fourth respectively, with the two lowest votes ever recorded in a UNISON general secretary election.
Paul Holmes stood on a clear, radical programme including:
- only taking his current wage of £32,000 – not the general secretary’s total salary package of £138,000 (he would return £106,000 to the union’s welfare and strike funds);
- the introduction of elections for the union’s five assistant general secretaries and 12 regional secretaries;
- increasing the amount of monies going to the union’s 830 branches from 25 per cent of total member subscriptions received to 50 per cent;
- a national strategy to fight redundancies and outsourcing, with the union to co-ordinate strategic national pay campaigns;
- giving more power/responsibility to elected representatives and removing it from full-time officials.
Paul Holmes’s campaign has reinvigorated the union. Hundreds of new activists came forward in Paul’s campaign, which is felt to have ‘touched a nerve’.
The activists in Paul’s campaign are determined to transfer the enthusiasm from the general secretary election campaign to the forthcoming UNISON NEC elections.
John McDonnell MP and Paul Holmes held a meeting on January 28th 2021 where ten supporters of Paul’s general secretary election campaign, who are also standing as candidates in the NEC elections, spoke. The meeting had the same enthusiasm as in the general secretary election campaign.
55 candidates who supported Paul in the general secretary campaign are standing in the NEC elections. They are determined to radically change UNISON.
More detailed information about these 55 candidates and the platform they are standing on can be found from UNISON branches who are nominating candidates in the period February 1st to March 5th, or from candidates themselves, many of whom have active social media profiles.
Regional NEC seats
Eastern Liz Brennan, Rob Turner, Polly Smith
East Midlands Nathalie Birkett
Greater London Helen Davies, Liz Wheatley, Amerit Rait, Anju Paul
Northern Cathy Davis, Terry McPartlan
Northern Ireland Niall McCarroll
North West Tony Wilson, Karen Reissman, Jane Wilcox, Steve North, Luisete Batiste
Scotland Arthur Nicoll, Maggie McGuire, Lynn-Marie O’Hara
South East Jacqui Berry, Antoinette Solera, Dan Sartin, Abi Holdsworth
South West Becky Brookman, Kevin Treweeks, Jessica Powell
Wales Libby Nolan, Martin Chapman
West Midlands Caroline Johnson, Alison Dingle, Mike Vaughan, Mandy Buckley
Yorks & Humberside Greta Holmes, Sarah Littlewood, Tony Wright, Theresa Rollinson
Service Group NEC seats
Community Kevin Jackson, Saoirse Fanning
Health Claire Dixon, Su Edwards, Joe Hale, Kevin Corran
Higher Education Sandy Nicoll, Kath Owen
Local Govt Diana Leach, Jane Doolan, Paul Holmes, Andrea Egan
Police & Justice Mike Garvey, Joanne Moorcroft
WET John Jones
National NEC seats
Black members’ Nimi Trivedi, Julia Mwaluke
Young members’ Lilly Boulby, Kiera Hilder
Dan Sartin (@dansartin01) is a UNISON NEC member, writing in a personal capacity.
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