Howard Beckett launches bid to become next Unite leader

Howard Beckett launches bid to become next Unite leader

- in Unite
Howard Beckett Unite leader campaign

Unite assistant general secretary for politics and legal formally launched his campaign to succeed Len McCluskey as the union’s general secretary.

Howard Beckett last night launched his campaign to become the next general secretary of Unite at an online rally hosted on social media.

Mr Beckett, currently the trade union’s assistant general secretary for politics and legal, is one of three current Unite assistant general secretaries bidding to take over from Len McCluskey, who announced last week he will step down in August.

The others vying for the top job are Steve Turner and Sharon Graham, who currently oversees the union’s organising strategy. A fourth candidate, Gerard Coyne, is seen as the ‘right-wing’ candidate.

Howard Beckett officially launched his campaign with a rally which was broadcast live on Twitter and can be viewed below:

If he wins, 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”.

He also said that a £40 million strike fund – the largest in British history – would be set up and used to fight off so-called ‘fire and rehire’ threats and attempts by business to make workers pay for the Covid-19 crisis.

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

Signalling his intention to run for general secretary last week, Howard Beckett said: “The Executive Council of Unite the union have agreed a timetable for electing a new General Secretary. I am delighted to say I will be asking for nominations from Unite branches in order to go on to ask the membership of this union for their vote.

“This is a critical time for workers across our regions and nations, and I know they expect strong leadership from Unite the union.

“We know that this rabid Tory government is hell-bent on making worker’s pay for this health crisis – just like the made worker’s pay for the bankers crisis – I am determined to stop that from happening.

“In the coming weeks I will lay out my vision for Unite and its incredible membership, as we emerge from this global pandemic. I am excited to be part of this contest.”

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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