First of all, I would like to wish all my readers Happy International Women's Day. As part of that celebration, I have chosen today to formally announce my candidacy for the post of General Secretary of Unite. The following is the press release that I have sent out today.
The only woman, so far, to challenge for the top job as General Secretary of Unite, the country's largest union, has thrown her hat into the ring.
Gail Cartmail, 55 years old, Unite Assistant General Secretary for the Public Sector is standing on 'an independent progressive platform' when the 1.6 million members vote for the new General Secretary later this year.
The ‘Together to Win’ website (www.votegailcartmail.org.uk) being launched today, International Women’s Day, sets out detailed commitments that Gail Cartmail says she will fulfill if elected. In particular, she puts a lot of emphasis on efficient and effective support for the union’s workplace representatives and respect for the Unite workforce.
Gail, who has more than 30 years experience of trade union activism, wants to build unity across and within the 24 industrial sectors of Unite to combat the threats to employment and public services, such as the NHS and employers imposing pay cuts/freezes.
She also advocates a comprehensive strategy to revive Britain's manufacturing industry that combines safeguarding existing enterprises and galvanizing support to promote the areas of predicted growth such as green technology.
Gail, the union's former Head of Equalities, would institute a review to attract new members to Unite from sections of society under-represented in the trade union movement, such as young people and ethnic minorities.
She said: 'We need to create a union fit for the 21st century that will tackle the big issues by widening our horizons beyond the trade union movement to make common cause with organisations that share our goal of social justice and equality.'
'Members are worried about rising unemployment, pay cuts and pressures on public services. So we must build on Unite’s strengths - our strong political campaigning voice, organising in our traditional sectors, identifying new sectors for growth and building international links that challenge the power of global corporations - in our fight for better pay and conditions, defending trade union rights and against privatisation and massive job losses.
The election is for a sole General Secretary to replace the current Joint General Secretaries, Derek Simpson and Tony Woodley.