THE ELECTION for the next General Secretary of Amicus/Unite is now well underway, but there have already been many twists and turns.
The candidacy of Jerry Hicks, a victimised Rolls Royce shop steward, had originally split the ‘Left’ within Amicus. Hicks, a former member of the Socialist Workers Party who parted company with them over their role in the bitter split within Respect, is the only candidate standing for the election of full-time officials and if elected will live on a workers’ wage.
The official Amicus Unity Gazette (broad left) and the SWP instead chose to unite behind Laurence Faircloth, the regional secretary for the south-west who had previously stood on the right-wing slate of ex-general secretary Sir Ken Jackson. However, due to a poor number of nominations from branches, Faircloth withdrew his candidacy and declared his support for right-wing candidate and incumbent general secretary Derek Simpson. Yet, with Hicks remaining the only left candidate, Amicus Unity Gazette have refused to give their backing. In an embarrassing u-turn, the SWP have now grudgingly given their support to Hicks. The Socialist Party will continue to back Jerry Hicks election bid but will also campaign for the establishment of a real membership-based left, to build a fighting Unite capable of defending jobs, wages and conditions.