The current range of candidates intending to stand for the next Tynwald parliamentary elections on 22 September is far too skewed towards business interests at the expense of working people, Unite, the largest union on the island, will warn tonight (Monday 27 June).
Unite’s regional officer Eric Holmes will tell the Positive Action Group (PAG) think-tank that workers can’t afford to resign their public sector job, as required by the civil service commission code, to campaign to be elected to sit in the 24-seat House of Keys, the lower branch of Tynwald.
Unite’s regional officer Eric Holmes said: “We need to achieve a wider diversity of membership within both sections of Tynwald – the House of Keys and the Legislative Council – to reflect the make-up of the island’s 85,000 population.
“Unite’s represents 4,500 workers on the Isle of Man, which is 10 per cent of the working population, and in order to achieve a fairer society we need to widen the social composition of our parliamentary system.
“The chamber of commerce has almost become a party of government and is promoting the need for educated businessmen and women to come forward for election in September to secure the island’s future with their business acumen.
“To be frank, the trade unions are struggling to field suitable candidates willing to risk giving up their full-time employment to run for election.
“The current political mentality is that this island needs to be led and run as Isle of Man plc - and damn the trade unions. The system is skewed too far towards business interests, instead of a balanced vision for all residents and its workforce.
“We are calling for an understanding to be agreed through the Public Sector Commission (PSC) that allows politically active public sector workers an ability to stand for democratic election without fear of losing their employment, if they fail to get elected.
“The practice and spirit of democracy can only be enhanced by such a move. Until that happens, Unite will continue to campaign to stop any future government pursuing social and economic policies of a right-wing complexion that are detrimental to working people and their families.”
The PAG meeting, which is free, takes place at the Manx Legion Club, Market Hill, Douglas, starting at 19.30 tonight.
Notes to editors:
High Court of Tynwald is the parliament of the Isle of Man. Tynwald is of Norse origin and over 1,000 years old.
The Legislative Council is the upper branch of Tynwald and its 11 members are either indirectly elected or sit ex officio. The House of Keys is the lower branch. It has 24 members directly elected, every five years, from fifteen constituencies.
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.