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From The Socialist newspaper, 3 March 2010

Legal ruling exposes hypocrisy of Unison leadership

A ruling by the Certification Officer, the government official who has powers to declare if a union has broken its own rules, has exposed the hypocrisy of Unison's right wing leadership.

Left wing activists are hounded on the basis of dubious interpretations of the rules, and minor misdemeanours are escalated into major disciplinary offences. But the right wing are allowed to break the rules with impunity.

The case was brought by Caroline Bedale, secretary of Unison's Manchester Community and Mental Health branch.

Caroline is herself a victim of the witch hunt against the left, having been recently banned from union office for a staggering eight years for her role in organising legal representation for Karen Reissman.

Karen is a nurse victimised by her employer for criticising them in public, after Unison had withdrawn their own legal representation.

Caroline complained about a meeting organised by the Manchester Local Government branch, a leading right wing led branch, in summer 2009. Under the guise of a social event to open their new branch office, the right wing slate for the national executive elections was pushed by leading right wingers in the union.

After this meeting, the deputy secretary sent an email round reporting the right wing slate.

These events came to light in a report to the Cheshire branch committee by their representative at the meeting. Under Unison's rules, union resources cannot be used to promote candidates in internal elections.

Caroline's complaint was dealt with by the union's North West region. Not surprisingly, given the political bias towards the right wing in the region, the complaint was not upheld. Caroline therefore referred it to the Certification Officer.

Caroline faced a problem at the hearing in that she relied on the report from the Cheshire branch, whereas the secretary of the Manchester branch attended in person to deny the allegations.

Under evidence rules, a direct witness who can be cross-examined usually carries more weight than a written statement. But the Certification Officer found the evidence in the statement more credible, and ruled that the union's rules were breached.

This ruling will give Unison's leaders a number of problems. Will they take action against their right-wing friends in the Manchester branch? Will they take action against the official who investigated Caroline's complaint?

This ruling, available on the Certification Officer's website, should be read by all Unison members.

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In The Socialist 3 March 2010:

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PCS: All Out to Defend Jobs and Services

Stop council cuts


Youth fight for jobs

Invest in jobs, education & Training

Cut the working hours, not the jobs!

Portsmouth students and workers unite to fight cuts

Brighton students say: Save our nursery

EMA inadequacy impacts badly on students


International socialist news and analysis

Building action across Europe

Greece - millions take part in general strike

Spain: Thousands join mass demonstrations


Socialist Party news and analysis

The fairytale world of RBS

Nationalise the energy giants

Activists launch socialist challenge

Walsgrave hospital Coventry: Stop the parking charges rip-off

Fast news


Socialist Party workplace news

Where is the BA cabin crew dispute going?

Smash the bosses' construction blacklist!

Leeds lecturers win concessions - but cuts remain to be fought

Workplace news: In brief


Unison

Unison general secretary election: Nominate Roger Bannister

Legal ruling exposes hypocrisy of Unison leadership


The Socialist Interview

FBU general secretary speaks to The Socialist


Socialist Party women

Women will be at the fore in the fightback!


Media

Global media monster News International condemned

The hounding of Tommy Sheridan

Savage cuts planned at the Beeb


Football

Supporters should own Pompey, not developers


Socialist Party feature

The worldwide thievery of big business


 

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