Analysis comment

Unison’s Prentis promises he’ll back staff named in leaked Labour sabotage report

Two prominent figures accused of working against Labour and undermining party’s disciplinary procedures told jobs are safe in spite of outrage among union’s members and NEC
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis

On Tuesday, hundreds of Unison members – including more than twenty elected members of the union’s National Executive Committee – demanded action from general secretary Dave Prentis after two senior Unison officials were accused in the leaked Labour report that detailed sabotage of Labour’s disciplinary processes and electoral effects.

In an open letter, the members demanded a full investigation and firm action against any staff found to have undermined Labour as described in the report, “o retain the confidence of our members, who look to the Labour Party to deliver the political change they need“.

Prentis’s action appears to be a promise of protection to Emilie Oldknow and John Stolliday.

According to Murdoch hack Gabriel Pogrund, seemingly at a loose end now that Jeremy Corbyn is no longer leader of the Labour Party, Prentis has told the pair not to worry about their positions because he will back them.

Stolliday’s role as the union’s ‘Head of Member Liaison’, according to Unison insiders, gives him oversight of the general secretary election that will take place later this year.

The union was at the centre of controversy in the ‘Unisongate’ scandal, when the official Certification Officer found that Prentis-supporting staff had ‘inappropriately’ interfered in the last general secretary election. However, after initially pursuing a whistleblower who revealed the interference, the union took no action, according to the letter signed by members on Tuesday:

As National Executive Committee members and concerned members from within the broader union, we note the following:

– That UNISON has taken no internal action since the Certification Officer’s report concluded its own staff had interfered inappropriately and outside of UNISON’s rules in the general secretary election of 2015.

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  1. They all shit in the same pot always have always will. Mass cancellations are must, cut the funds to these fraudsters

  2. “Jacinda Ardern and ministers take pay cut in solidarity with those hit by Covid-19”

    What a great pity we don’t have people in our Labour Party like this, setting an example of what solidarity actually means in practice. While I’m not suggesting our MPs do exactly the same, nevertheless it’s an example of the kind of thing that could win over large numbers to Labour’s cause in the UK. Actions always speak louder than words.

    1. Wish she was our P.M….I’ve said this for a long time..I have regular updates from my friends in N.Z. and they can’t praise her enough~ neither can I…No foreigners allowed in..End Of..Meanwhile it seems they’re pouring in from anywhere here with very little, if any, checks..

      1. Way back in the mists of time, I remember as a kid in junior school we had to do a project on a foreign country and I chose New Zealand. Of course, I didn’t realise how badly the Maori had been treated under colonialism as we were always taught how great the Empire was. Nevertheless, I’ve always had a love of the country from afar and all the Kiwi’s I’ve met have been very friendly people, unlike some of the loud and brash Aussies (although not all by any means).

        Something else that really surprised me. I grew up as a skinhead in the late 60s and Jamaican music has been a hugely influential part of my life ever since – Jeremy Corbyn incidentally spent time teaching classes in Kingston around that time – and quite by chance recently I discovered a number of New Zealand reggae artists. Good conscious roots music, too – if you like that kind of thing, of course. Artists like 1812 (Jah Rastafari), Cornerstone Roots (Journey), Tomorrow People (Irie Music), Unity Pacific (In The Ghetto), and Katchafire (Get Away).

  3. Time for Mr Prentis to retire. What part of disciplining staff/members for example Ms Old know and others does he not understand?

    1. Sabine Emilie Oldknow and John Stolliday can’t be disciplined by Unison for something they did when employed by our party. In my opinion they should be expelled by the party along with all the other named officials who sought to destroy our chances of election.

  4. Actually, failure to act should be sufficient for sacking him. In the e d the buck stops with him.

    1. Hullo Sabine. Do you really expect honourable behaviour from knaves. These actions are not new but just the latest in a line going back to Ramsey Mac and before. I admire your loyalty a beliefs, genuinely, but even darker times await us. Here in sunny Scarborough, only a solitary independent Councillor, hasbeen knocking on doors offering assistance to tenants. Individual members have been wonderful as always but from officials and hq there has been nothing. We have always loved THE NHS but this forced hero worship driven by the establishment is sickening. Heroes caring for the rest. Divide and conquer then sell it ot off. Keep well. X

  5. Trade Union Barons have been unaccountable empire builders for many years. Solidarity comrades….but know who your real friends are.

    1. And enemies. Too late, you should all cancel your subs. Spend it on drink. X and stay well. No coughing at the back or…

  6. Unison must have had a good idea about Emilie Oldknow and John Stolliday’s politics & methods prior to their appointment. Could be that they were given a safe home where they could reside until required.

    Can’t believe Starmer would now touch Oldnow with a bargepole, but if he does then he’ll be nailing his colours up for all to see.

  7. The NEC members should vote to suspend Prentis and the two members he is protecting. It looks like some of the officers of the union have forgotten about democracy and are more interested in feathering their own political nests. The members could resign on mass and move elsewhere and Prentis would be the king without any clothes!

  8. Trade Unions are essential but the STRUCTURES need more MEMBERSHIP CONTROL over Full Time Officials

    1. There are two types of officials in Trade Unions – lay officials and full time officials.
      Lay officials are elected by the membership and are answerable to the membership. If the membership doesn’t like what the lay official does they vote them out at the next election- usually held annually.
      With one exception, full time officials are appointed by a selection panel and as paid employees are answerable to a line manager within a management structure. They also have employment rights and protections.
      The exception is the General Secretary who is elected by the membership. Members can vote the General Secretary out and should do so if the are dissatisfied with their performance.
      However member apathy plays a big part too – most aren’t activists and don’t even bother to vote-.That ensures that people like Dave Prentis remain in post despite being unpopular among Trade Union activists

      1. Smartboy
        Dave Prentis survives because of apathy,
        Pantomime Dame survives because of apathy
        This report should be enough to get rid of Dave Prentis and a change of rules should be enough to get rid of PD

      2. I don’t disagree Doug.It probably won’t happen though
        I am furious that people capable of sexist racist insulting and infantile comments are handed senior jobs in Unison. If Unison was my union I’d resign.
        I am disgusted at the way Diane Abbott and other BAME people were treated and I am upset that Jewish people felt unwelcome in the party because of malicious behaviour of certain named individuals who couldn’t care less about them.
        I trust the Chief Rabbi , the president of the Board of Deputies the Campaign against Antisemitism and the JLM will be as outspoken in their condemnation of these individuals as they were about Jeremy Corbyn when they wrongly believed he was responsible for failing to action complaints.

      3. Good, concise explanation. Can’t understand the shortage of likes. ☮️

  9. I notice Analise Dodds – Co-op Party!!! has been wheeled out to face the media with the predicatble ‘let’s not upset the apple cart at the moment’ response.

    On the contrary, the apple cart needs upending and the bad apples, of which there are plenty, need singling out and dumped, no matter what position of prominence they hold on the fuit stall.

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