First declaration unlawful, then nomination meeting invite recommends Coyne – but members ‘run him out’ of meeting
Birmingham City Council Unite members have massively rejected right-winger Gerard Coyne in their nomination vote for the union’s general secretary election – despite the efforts of his supporters to first declare the nomination for Coyne before the contest had even started, then to use the invitation to the new meeting to tell them they should vote for him. Coyne’s campaign had boasted of its stronghold in the West Midlands and the number of nominations he would win.
Coyne’s supporters attempted to use a meeting in April to declare that the branch had nominated Coyne, even though the nominations period didn’t open until May – and without telling many members that the matter was even on the agenda. Understandably, the union annulled this result and a new meeting had to be arranged and took place today.
Birmingham bin workers, who worked with left favourite Howard Beckett to win two major disputes with the Labour-right-run council, complained that the meeting was arranged for 4pm today to make it hard for them to attend – as they start work at 4am.
And the invitation to the meeting contained a shameless attempt to persuade members to vote for Coyne – even referring to the original invalidated declaration:
But members turned up – and when a ballot was taken, Beckett received over 91% of the vote, with the remainder split evenly between Coyne and Keir Starmer’s reported second preference Steve Turner.
And to add insult to injury, members say that Coyne – who is based in the West Midlands and joined the meeting to try to persuade them to support him – was told to leave because his speech had been so poor.
One member said:
He was just talking and not saying anything. It got so bad that he was basically run out of the meeting. We didn’t care what the officials said, we were backing Howard.
Howard Beckett’s surging campaign has stunned rivals and has won well over 300 nominations so far, as his campaign social media accounts announced yesterday, including a humorous reference to the right’s panicked – and badly backfiring – smear-campaign against him. Birmingham City Council workers featured strongly:
Nominations close on Monday and must be reported by noon on Wednesday.
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