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14 October 2009

Unison - opening door to minority rule

It seems the witch-hunt of lefts in Unison is failing to silence their voices on the union's national executive council (NEC), so at the NEC meeting on 7 October the right wing majority launched a further organisational attack on them.

This time they proposed that NEC members should be banned at the full NEC, from opposing decisions of committees of which they are members! (Usually it is only left wing members who do this, as the vast majority of right wingers remain silent and do as they are told!) Any member falling foul of this rule would risk being removed from the committee.

In their desperation to silence the left, the ruling right wing clique apparently forgot what they had supported in the past. It was pointed out to them that the current NEC handbook makes it clear that "collective responsibility" does not apply to NEC committees, and that the NEC had previously been given legal advice that NEC members should have the "unfettered right" to vote as they wish at the NEC!

All six Socialist Party members on the NEC opposed this move, and spoke against it. This measure opens the door to minority rule on the NEC, since the committees are large bodies. A committee with 23 members could approve a measure by twelve votes to eleven. As there are 69 NEC members, if these 11 were forced to abstain, there would be 58 voting NEC members, requiring a minimum of 30 votes to carry a motion.

In this circumstance the 28 voting against the motion, plus the 11 who opposed it at committee but forced to abstain (39), would outnumber the voting "majority"(30). That's democracy right-wing style!

Socialist Party members on the NEC are clear, we are accountable to the rank and file members that elect us, not to the NEC or to its committees.

We will continue to support policies that are in line with our election addresses, to promote militant trade unionism, to call for an end to the millions wasted on the Labour Party and to fight for a democratic union, accountable to its members.