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From The Socialist newspaper, 1 March 2017

Hearing into alleged rule-breaking by Unison ends

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

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

Unison members

The hearing into rule breaking by public sector union Unison during the 2015 general secretary election ended on 22 February.

Complaints have been made by three candidates in the election - Socialist Party member Roger Bannister, Unison local government head Heather Wakefield and Barnet branch secretary John Burgess.

The fourth complainant is Jon Rogers, a greater London executive member.

Most of the complaints centre on a staff meeting held in London in October 2015 which, contrary to union rules, was used to organise support for incumbent general secretary Dave Prentis.

This last day was set aside for summary statements, and had a more legalistic focus than the first three days in December, when a number of Unison officials made some surprising revelations about behind the scenes machinations in the union, and were clearly uncomfortable under cross examination.

Towards the close of the hearing, Judge Mary Stacey announced her intention to include in her ruling a "finding of fact" on whether or not Dave Prentis had any direct connection with the meeting in question.

A finding that he had such a connection would be extremely damaging to Prentis's reputation.

Of key importance to all parties is whether or not the judge orders the election to be rerun.

The ruling is not expected for several weeks.

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