Ballot papers go out to almost 1.5m members of Unite this morning, in an accelerated vote for the union’s general secretary
Both candidates – the incumbent, Len McCluskey, and his challenger, Jerry Hicks – are hoping for a large turnout in the ballot, which runs until 12 April.
The election was triggered by Len McCluskey’s decision to seek a new mandate for the position earlier than expected in order that the vote would not clash with an expected Westminster general election in 2014 or 2015.
Speaking to campaign supporters in Glasgow at the weekend, Len McCluskey said: “It is critical that members understand that this is their union, that they take ownership of the union.
“Because it is only you that can deliver the vision.”
Jerry Hicks – who has been campaigning in Manchester – said: “The fewer decisions a general secretary makes, the more decisions the members make.
“Leaders lead, by example, but members should control.”
Anyone who was a member of Unite the union on 31 January 2013 is eligible to vote, including retired and community members.
The employment law specialist Professor Keith Ewing has been appointed election commissioner. Simon Hearn of Electoral Reform Services is the returning officer.
The ballot closes on Friday 12 April and the winner is due to be announced on Monday 15 April.
You can watch UnionNews’ film profiles of the candidates:
and Jerry Hicks
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