Steve Turner, one of the hard left candidates to replace Len McCluskey as General Secretary of Unite the Union, has promised that if he is elected Unite will launch a new national TV station.
According to Howard Beckett, whose idea this is, Unite TV will be broadcast 24/7, with additional live streaming from hot spots around the world, and there will be a television studio in each of the union’s twelve regions and nations.
The decision to give Unite TV the go-ahead was part of the ‘blended manifesto’ approach agreed when Howard Beckett withdrew from the election and lent his support to Steve Turner, in the hope of defeating Gerard Coyne, the mainstream candidate.
There has been no word on what this TV station scheme would cost. However, it would certainly be expensive, and it is hard to see how the expense would be justified by benefits for Unite members. The proposals come after Unite has spent £98 million on building a hotel and conference centre in Birmingham – a project which ran hugely over budget.
Gerard Coyne is committed to freezing Unite membership subscription rates for two years, a value for money review of Unite’s contracts, transparency around Unite’s finances, and an independent and published inquiry into the Birmingham project.
Commenting on the news Gerard Coyne said:
“A luxury hotel, a TV station, what next? A travel agency? A nightclub? A presidential palace?
“If I am elected General Secretary, I will put an end to this nonsense, freeze Unite subscription rates for two years and focus on the jobs, pay and conditions of our members.
“Unite members deserve a union that puts them first and doesn’t waste millions of pounds of their money. There will certainly be no Unite TV station if I am General Secretary.”
- Howard Beckett has withdrawn from the Unite the Union Election Contest and now supports Steve Turner. Their joint press statement announcing the deal includes a commitment to implementing Unite TV:
“Howard Beckett has decided he will support Steve Turner as Unite’s next General Secretary. …They will both work to implement a blended manifesto, taking the best ideas from both candidates, when Steve Turner becomes General Secretary. Howard Beckett will campaign alongside Steve for the next two months to present a joint programme which includes … important new communications initiatives including Unite TV”
- Howard Beckett provided more detail on Unite TV to the Socialist Party (formerly Militant) website:
“I am going much further now and saying the time is right for us to launch Unite TV.
“A TV channel hosted on YouTube, but one that is 24/7. Each region and nation with a studio. Our telling our own story of trade unionism and collectivism, no longer reliant on mainstream media.”