The drama in Enfield has moved from growth to explosion, with an email – described by local Labour figures as ‘nuclear’ – sent by the council’s deputy leader to all Labour councillors and obtained by the SKWAWKBOX.
Outrage has grown among locals in and out of the party since the SKWAWKBOX exposed the deeply-flawed process for the selection of council candidates for May’s local elections – a process overseen by Labour campaigns secretary Nesil Caliskan, who was then elected as leader by those who benefited from the flaws – and the threat to remove Labour group secretaries in order to make room for a ‘political adviser’ for the new council leader.
And last night, the leader and her allies quashed an attempt by deputy council leader Daniel Anderson to pass a resolution supporting the threatened staff.
Anderson – considered a moderate – has now ‘gone nuclear’ with a strongly-worded email to the whole ‘Labour group’ of councillors condemning the behaviour of the council’s leaders and calling on councillors to support an immediate investigation. Emphases added by this blog:
From: Cllr Daniel Anderson <Cllr.Daniel.Anderson@Enfield.gov.uk>
Sent: 19 June 2018 16:26
To: All members Labour
Subject: Group Meeting
Further to last night’s Group Meeting, and the successful attempt to muzzle any discussion on an extremely serious matter, i.e. that senior officers of the Council are alleged to have sought to dismiss the secretariat working in the Labour Group Office, allegedly to replace them with a political assistant, allegedly at the behest of the Leader, I thought it would be helpful for you to see the speech that I had intended to give by way of proposing the Motion.
You should also know that Unison’s Branch Secretary Paul Bishop had sent Vicki and myself an email in advance of the Group Meeting which stated, and I quote (in italics), ‘As far as I can see, the motion if passed or otherwise will have no effect on resolution of our members’ employment position as discussions will take place with officers rather than elected members.’
There was therefore no justifiable reason for the motion to be withheld and I will leave it to Group to ponder what the Leader’s motive may have been to have done so.
My speech is in italics below.
Thank you Chair.
2 weeks ago, it came to our attention that our valued and committed staff secretariat who work in the Labour Group Office were, without notice or warning, called in separately for a meeting with senior management to discuss their future.
Since then we have had various different accounts as to what took place with claims and counter claims. What is not in dispute is that the staff affected, as a result of the situation, are currently on sick leave and have been ever since, and that their unions are in conversation with senior management regarding their future.
However, what is of particular concern, and the reason for this motion tonight, is that we have had allegations of the Leader’s direct involvement and alleged attempts by senior officers to subvert Council policies and procedures allegedly in order to appoint a political assistant.
We have evidence that the two most senior officers in the Council – and we are talking here about the Chief Executive and the Chief Monitoring Officer – misled and impeded members, initially claiming that their actions were in line with Council policy, but then later retracting and admitting that there was no policy in place to support such intervention.
And these concerns have spread beyond the Labour Group Office, and beyond the Council. For instance, I was informed by Joanne Laban that these allegations were ‘common knowledge’ across the Council and we know they have even made their way onto social media and into the local press.
As a result of which, this sorry situation has brought the Labour Group, the Administration and the Council into disrepute.
Hence, this goes far beyond the simple, but nonetheless serious, matter in itself of employment law, which is the preserve of the staff affected and their union representatives to address with management, and is not the focus of this motion. Indeed, to that effect, I have written assurance from Paul Bishop of Unison that the discussion and passing of this motion this evening will not affect their members employment position.
But make no mistake, these are very serious allegations and they demand action.
I am therefore concerned that the Chief Executive, who is implicated in this affair, has apparently, in spite of Paul Bishop’s letter to the contrary, tried to intervene in Labour Group proceedings to stop discussion of this motion.
Let me again be abundantly clear. This is not a motion that affects or impedes employment law and nor should it.
However, what it does do is put on record our appreciation, as Labour Group, of our valued and committed staff.
It also instructs the Chair of Group to establish an investigation into the reports of what’s taken place because whatever is the case, this has taken place in our name and brought us, as I have said, into disrepute.
It instructs the Chair to report back to Group on the fundings and recommendations of that investigation, and makes clear that any proposed changes to the support given to Labour Group including matters of staffing will not take place without explicit approval of Labour Group.
Chair, we can talk about ‘Labour values’ and have a manifesto commitment that talks of ‘treating our staff decently’, but if we fail to take action when those values are compromised it would suggest that they are nothing more than empty rhetoric.
I therefore ask Group to support the motion.
Cllr Daniel Anderson
Deputy Leader of the Council
Southgate Green Ward (Labour)
London Borough of Enfield
The shock-wave of this explosive email is likely to spread far and fast throughout then council and the borough.
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