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Howard Beckett launches bid to lead Unite

HOWARD BECKETT was scheduled to launch his campaign to become the next general secretary of the Unite trade union last night at an online rally across social media platforms.

Mr Beckett, currently responsible for the union’s political and legal work, is one of three assistant general secretaries bidding to succeed current leader Len McCluskey, who retires in August.

The others are Steve Turner, who is backed by the union’s United Left, and Sharon Graham, who currently oversees its organising strategy.

A fourth candidate, Gerard Coyne, who was beaten by Mr McCluskey in the last election, is regarded as the right-wing candidate.

Mr Beckett has pledged to “channel the collective strength of our great membership into a powerful, national campaign for good jobs, investment in our public services and a wealth tax to pay for it,” if he wins.

He has also said that a £40 million strike fund — the biggest in British history — would be used to fight off bosses’ fire-and-rehire threats and attempts to make workers pay for the Covid-19 crisis.

Mr Beckett is backed by Jennie Formby, a former Unite regional secretary and Labour Party general secretary, who said that he “has taken on big bosses time and time again and won for our members.”

Sharon Graham — looking to become the union’s first woman leader — has now pledged to set up a “forensic and transparent inquiry into blacklisting to establish the truth about collusion and deliver justice.”

Each candidate will have to win a minimum of 174 branch nominations, which open on May 6 and close on July 7, with the ballot closing on August 23 and the result declared on August 26.

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