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Unison refuses to comment on official accused in leaked Labour report running union’s general secretary election process

Unison NEC members demanded investigation into John Stolliday but current general secretary Dave Prentis backed him. Report’s WhatsApp messages include discussion of halting the Labour leadership election

John Stolliday

Giant union Unison has refused to comment on reports that it has put John Stolliday in in charge of the election processes in the contest to replace outgoing general secretary Dave Prentis, even though Stolliday is one of the former Labour staff accused in the leaked Labour Party report still under investigation by the Forde Inquiry.

When the Labour report leaked, a large number of members of the union – including many members of Unison’s National Executive – publicly demanded that current general secretary Dave Prentis launch an immediate investigation and that

if UNISON’s own investigation into this report shows conduct by staff (including at another employer) to be so extreme and prejudicial that UNISON can no longer have faith in the integrity of these staff, it must take appropriate steps to protect the union, its reputation and ability to function

Instead, Prentis promised to back Stolliday and Emilie Oldknow, another former Labour staffer mentioned in the report now occupying a senior position in Unison.

Among Stolliday’s more than 500 mentions in the leaked report is a WhatsApp discussion with a colleague about options for causing the 2015 Labour leadership election to be halted when it started to become clear Jeremy Corbyn was on course to win:

With NEC and lay members calling for Stolliday’s and Oldknow’s activities during Corbyn’s leadership to be investigated, the threat could resurface if a left-winger was elected to replace Prentis, so the conflict of interest seems indisputable.

Yet when asked to comment on why Stolliday was still in charge of the process in his union role as ‘Head of Member Liaison’, Unison declined to comment, saying that the enquiry would have to be directed to the candidates – who, of course, do not decide Stolliday’s job description.

John Stolliday was also contacted for comment, but did not respond.

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20 comments

    1. Actually, does he remind anyone else of Jabba the Hutt?
      Before he melted in that fire I mean, obviously.

  1. A good illustration of the sad fact that those supposed ‘defence organisations of the working class’ , the trades unions, in too many instances, eg, Unison, USDAW, and the GMB, and others, are nowadays hotbeds of internal corruption, ridiculously inflated full-timer salaries and pensions, and endemic cronyism, little more than bosses’ in-house ‘company’ unions in many instances, awash with sweetheart deals with businesses that guarantee ‘stable workforce behaviour and supply ‘, rather than defending their members from employer exploitation. Under Prentice’s dire reign, UNISON has been one of the worst. And, as Prentice’s disgraceful gerrymandering of the previous Leadership election shows, his corrupt full-timer claque intend that to continue by all means possible once he’s gone!

    1. It is not very often that I give you a ‘like’ but on this occasion I thought your comment warranted it.

    2. Weren’t unions always rife with corruption at the top though?
      I watched the competitive strikes over ‘differentials’ kill support for the unions and the Labour movement in the late 1960’s and the 1970’s.
      It struck me then as stupidly self-defeating in that it was bound to give an incoming Tory Government – Thatcher as it happened – carte blanche on reform from 1979.
      Union leaders could only have been in it for themselves – we all know solidarity is the only way to win.

  2. It is not a good look and it is unlikely to encourage any much needed wider participation in the election of a replacement for Prentis if this is seen as another stitch up by the already discredited previous incumbent.

    I’ve just received the following email from ‘Democracy Unleashed’ and I thought reproducing it here was apt.

    What Democracy Meant To Me
    I grew up in a dictatorship and politics was real to me on every level, every day. I try to think back to a time when politics started to matter to  me  and I can’t. Politics has always mattered to me, it impacted the exchange rate, my freedom, my ability to make choices – everything.  
    Politics to me is so personal. And yet in the UK I often see that in a democracy people forget what it means to them. Because of the processes, politics ticks over and people forget that it is personal. Political decision affects every part of your life whether you choose to engage in it or not – it will continue affecting you. 
    There are few things about Covid-19 and the divisiveness in our politics that has come from  Brexit  that are good. However, one positive thing that has happened as a result of these crises is that they have made politics personal. The government has made life changing and economic decisions that impact every aspect of our lives and it is personal.  
    People are starting to wake up and  realise  what I have known all my life, the political decisions made at the top will impact every aspect of my life.  
    People often say that being in a democracy is a privilege, but I disagree. It is a  functioning  democracy which is a privilege, not just a democracy. If we lose focus  now,  we will lose it,  it can be taken away. 
    It is time to stand up and fight for what many of us have taken for granted our entire lives. Join the fight, and if you can become one of the founding investors in unlocking the power of our democracy.

    Geeta Sidhu-Robb

  3. Don’t forget that we’ve also got Emilie Oldknow OBE, Chief Operating Officer, UNISON, & serial e-mailer who features in the leaked Labour Party report.

  4. Mark Howell, Crowd Justice is looking for funding for next stage of class action against Labour Party, which could well reveal who was pulling the strings in all along

  5. In Britain we have the illusion of democracy whilst in reality, the sheep are herded along the path given to them by those who control the media.

    1. JackT
      What I dont know about MSM and toilet papers is why we allow them to abuse their freedom’s
      Change ownership rules and regulate them out of business, it won’t take much most of them are insolvent

  6. Sorry JackT,,,,,,,You say Unison made donations to who in leadership election campaign?

      1. Unison did declare support for Starmer (see Unison website) & if I remember correctly it was confirmed by a link on Skwawkboz.

      2. Steve Richards 29/08/2020 at 5:00 pm

        “Unison did declare support for Starmer”

        Jeremy Corbyn’s CLP also nominated Keir Starmer

  7. If I didn’t know any better. It’s almost like Prentis is refusing to do the decent thing and remove Stolliday from his position at the union because he sees him as the way of continuing a right wing Unison leadership.
    It’s quite depressing that nothing seems to embarrass Prentis proved by his behaviour in the last GS election and now this with Stolliday and Oldknow

  8. S/he who pays the piper calls the tune. Labour Party Policies determined by donors.

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