Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/931/24194

From The Socialist newspaper, 11 January 2017

Unison legal battle looks into allegations 'Team Dave' broke rules during general secretary election

Unison's right-wing general secretary Dave Prentis, photo by Paul Mattsson

Unison's right-wing general secretary Dave Prentis, photo by Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Socialist Party members in Unison

For years Unison activists have suspected that there has been illegitimate interference from unelected officials in the union elections in breach of the rules. As such the 2015 general secretary election was no different, except this time they got caught red handed.

The union had hoped to silence the anger of the members. Unfortunately for them the three left of Prentis candidates weren't going to let them off that easily and now a court will determine if the election was free and fair and if it should be re-run.

Complaints

Unison national executive committee member Roger Bannister, who was one of the candidates, is currently locked in this legal battle with the union. There are three other similar cases also being heard.

Roger has made two complaints. Firstly, that a meeting held in the greater London region for all organising staff breached the rules by organising for incumbent general secretary Dave Prentis during the election, when the rules are clear that no Unison resources should be used on behalf of any candidate.

And secondly that election rules were changed unconstitutionally during the election in order to get around the fact that the Prentis camp were breaking the rules.

All complainants are claiming that there was so much widespread malpractice and breaches of the rules by unelected full-time officials that the election should be re-run again.

In the face of overwhelming evidence, the union is not disputing the key facts. Instead they are accepting that there was some rule breaking, but claiming that this was by a lone "rogue" official - London regional secretary Linda Perks. They claim that once they had found out about the tape of the London meeting, they took action against her (she was initially suspended and then given a final written warning and transfer).

As such, the union wasn't liable for her actions. In addition the problems were contained to London, and such was the margin of Prentis' victory that even if his London vote was discounted, he would have still won. After three days of the hearing on 19-21 December, the outcome is an open question.

The judge is clearly of the view that there was a shoddy and overly restrictive investigation into one official only, when there was clear evidence that there was the open and willing participation to knowingly break the rules by the majority of London officials in the infamous meeting.

At one point she asked a national union official, pointing out that in the tape the regional secretary was instructing staff to lie, "wouldn't this normally result in summary dismissal?" The officer being questioned had no option but to agree.

What also came out in the hearing was the extent of the involvement of senior national officials in 'Team Dave' (his campaign team).

In breach of the rules they organised a meeting of paid officials funded by the union, to launch his campaign. They subsequently intervened to overturn a decision of the union election officer and the Electoral Reform Society by not allowing branches to say why they had nominated a candidate, only the fact that they had.

The judge was also clearly unhappy that when a complainant raised that this was a breach of the rules, he was served with a lawyer's letter threatening him with libel by Prentis, seeing this as an attempt to silence complaints.

Team Dave

The decision to only investigate one official was taken by the president (a member of Team Dave); the investigating officer appointed was a member of Team Dave and the panel hearing the case were members of Team Dave!

Whatever the outcome of the case, it won't be good for the union leadership. They could be forced to re-run the election, and/or initiate further action against other officials in London.

In the meantime, the left in Unison needs to let rank-and-file members know exactly what is going on.

Through the newly-formed Unison Action group, we must assemble slates of candidates for this year's NEC elections to ensure that an anti-Prentis majority is elected.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 11 January 2017:


NHS in meltdown

NHS in meltdown

NHS in meltdown from spending cuts - demonstrate on 4 March!

Sustainability and Transformation plans - a repackaging of cuts

Worcestershire hospital deaths expose NHS crisis


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Football abuse scandal: Reclaim the game for justice and accountability

Book review: Spy drama gives insight into capitalist coup plot


What we think

Strikes show workers' power


Socialist Party news and analysis

'Cash for ash' scandal set to bring down Northern Ireland government

May slams 'economic inequalities' Tory policies created

Blair's multimillion plans to fight 'populism'

Bosses earn average salary in under three days

What we saw

Them & Us: 500k house party... 50p for rent


Labour Party

Haringey: pressure grows as Labour council cuts

Sick of sham consultations - give us a real fightback

Khan should attack bosses, not workers


Socialist Party workplace news

Tube strike solid in fight for jobs and safety

Support BA cabin crews' strike for fair pay

Sham Royal Mail pensions consultation - action needed

Unison legal battle looks into allegations 'Team Dave' broke rules during general secretary election

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Build the resistance against Trump

Socialist Party national women's meeting

2016: A record-breaking fighting fund year!

Closing of the children's centres could cost lives


International socialist news and analysis

Palestine/Israel: Everyday life under occupation


 

Home   |   The Socialist 11 January 2017   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Unison:

triangleUnison HE conference: Delegates give the bureaucracy a lesson in democracy

triangleWorkplace news in brief

Election:

triangleBattle steps up in Unite general secretary election

triangleNetherlands: Heavy defeat for austerity government

triangleNorthern Ireland: divisive election a warning

trianglePerspectives for the two parties in one

Union:

triangleNew larger, merged teaching union

triangleJobstown Not Guilty: defend the right to protest

triangleWorkplace news in brief

London:

triangleJobstown Not Guilty: pics of London protest

triangleThem & Us

Candidates:

triangleSocialist Party Congress 2017 reports

Dave Prentis:

triangleHearing into alleged rule-breaking by Unison ends

Roger Bannister:

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

24/3/17

Fujitsu

Fujitsu strikes: Manchester and Warrington

23/3/17

London

Jobstown Not Guilty: pics of London protest

22/3/17

Salford

Salford: International Women's Day meeting

22/3/17

Orgreave

Biggest ever protest by Orgreave campaigners

22/3/17

Unite

Battle steps up in Unite general secretary election

22/3/17

Aslef

Aslef offer: unity needed with the RMT

22/3/17

East London

East London demonstration against A&E closure

22/3/17

Tyneside

Battle for Wallsend walk-in NHS service

22/3/17

Cumbria

Join the march against NHS cuts and privatisation in Cumbria

22/3/17

NHS

We'll fight to save our NHS!

22/3/17

Workers

Workplace news in brief

22/3/17

Derby

Derby TAs' strike suspended after new offer

22/3/17

Public sector

End the seven-year public sector pay cap!

22/3/17

RMT

Merseyrail guard found not guilty of "endangering safety"

22/3/17

The Socialist

Send in your sales of the socialist

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle23 Mar Jobstown Not Guilty: pics of London protest

triangle23 Mar Unite against terror, racism and war

triangle22 Mar Northern Ireland: divisive election a warning to the workers' movement

triangle22 Mar Battle steps up in general secretary election before start of voting

triangle22 Mar Tory splits brought to the surface - Corbyn must go on the attack

triangle21 Mar CPSA to PCS: Fighting the 'Moderates' and building a fighting union

triangle20 Mar March against racism: Refugee Rights has lively bloc

More ...

triangle28 Mar Bristol North Socialist Party: The French elections

triangle28 Mar Manchester Socialist Party: The history of the CWI

triangle30 Mar North London Socialist Party: Stop the education cuts

triangle30 Mar Bradford Socialist Party: The French election campaign

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice