Demand-driven switch to public launch reveals level of support
Howard Beckett’s launch event for his campaign to become the Unite union’s next general secretary has been watched by more than 54,000 people since it went live on Sunday evening, giving an indication of the level of interest and support for the man who is both Unite’s lead on fighting invidious corporate ‘fire and rehire’ tactics and its director of legal and politics.
Among his rivals, fellow assistant general secretary Steve Turner’s Zoom event had 392 attendees, while Sharon Graham had 409 and right-winger Gerard Coyne a similar number.
Beckett, who also served members as regional director for the West Midlands and achieved huge popularity among Birmingham’s bin workers after winning two major disputes against the ‘fire and rehire’ tactics of the city’s Labour-run council, is standing on a platform of building both Unite’s industrial strength and capabilities and its political influence for the sake of its members, in contrast to his rivals who are all to some degree preaching a withdrawal or de-emphasising of the union’s influence in Westminster and at Labour HQ.
Contrary to rumours spread by supporters of some of the other campaigns, Beckett has also explicitly outlined plans to build up Unite’s ‘Community’ section for unwaged members.
The fact that a union needs industrial strength and political influence to best serve its members seems self-evident. It appears a huge number of people think so too.
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