In 2017, Len McCluskey won the Unite General Secretary Election. After a series of ridiculous failed legal attempts to overturn the decision, challenger Gerard Coyne took a court case to the Certification Officer to have the election annulled and rerun, on the basis that the union was not entitled to call it when it did.
Today, the SKWAWKBOX can report that the Certification Officer – retired judge Jeffrey Burke – has found in Len McCluskey’s favour.
After a hearing in which the most notable feature was Coyne’s unimpressive performance, he attempted to project confidence in a win for his side. As he had been almost completely unable to give a straight answer to a question, this looked unrealistic and has proven to be so.
Mr Burke’s decision says:
In my judgment the reasonable union member operating in the real trade union world would not understand rule 15.1 as amended to mean that the general secretary’s resignation would have to become effective before the union could embark on an election for his position.
This crushes Coyne’s attempt to claim that the election was invalid because the election process took place while McCluskey’s resignation was pending the result of the election.
Coyne also made bizarre claims about matters that had not even been discussed.
Attempts to smear McCluskey on the basis that recent articles were just attempts to distract from a bad result in the case now look as foolish as they were. Coyne has the option to pursue his remaining points – which have already been rejected in other courts – but this basis for challenge was his best (of a bad bunch) shot.
The Labour right’s hopes of undermining Corbyn by withdrawing Unite’s support just became vanishingly small.
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