Analysis Announcement Breaking News

Walls close in on Unison right as left takes Labour Link committee too

Right’s rear-guard action set to intensify as left consolidates democratic hold

The left’s surge to take control of the Unison union’s democratic bodies has continued with a resounding win in the regional elections to its Labour Link committee.

The left now has a democratically-achieved majority on Unison’s National Executive (NEC) and Labour Link, as well as holding the presidential office and both vice-presidencies.

September saw the scandal of Unison’s conference delegates ignoring their elected oversight in order to confirm David Evans as Labour’s general secretary amid mass gerrymandering – and since then the union’s right-wing management has pulled every trick to avoid implementing0 the motions and rulings of Unison’s NEC, which by the union rules is the sole sovereign body of the union.

The manoeuvres even involved attempts to nullify NEC resolutions by claiming they were unlawful – an attempt shot down in flames when the country’s top labour lawyer said they were talking nonsense.

That same peer ruled that the NEC is Unison’s only body with authority to decide how the union’s rules apply – and that staff should be dismissed instantly for gross misconduct if they fail to comply.

Unison’s management has also suspended elected president Paul Holmes for months without explanation and banned member branches from supporting him, in an attempt to lever him out altogether.

Holmes represents a serious threat to the position of right-wing general secretary Christine McAnea. Holmes came close to beating her to the position and would have done so had certain figures in the left establishment not insisted on fielding a weaker candidate and splitting the left vote.

But Holmes’s suspension currently prevents him from voting, leaving the committee hung. Holmes’s reinstatement and his defeat of the tactics used to sideline him become even more necessary.

Today’s left win makes a further escalation of the right’s attacks highly likely as the right-wingers feel the walls closing in – strength and resolve on the part of the left now is more important than ever.

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22 comments

  1. This is fantastic news!

    All the better for happening after the right, fighting Starmer’s battle for him, suspends the union’s new president Paul Holmes. (Holmes should have won the Unison general secretary election had a weaker candidatenot been proferred and divided the left vote in the union).

    I am tickled pink and in seventh heaven about what this left majority on the NEC and Labour Link means: The ‘new management’ will be watched like a hawk and censured every time Starmer and Evans harm Labour’s electability and attack Labour’s members.

    “Today’s left win makes a further escalation of the right’s attacks highly likely as the right-wingers feel the walls closing in – strength and resolve on the part of the left now is more important than ever.

    The BBC, Guardian and billionaires’ press will be on the job this very second.

    Well done Unison members. Well Done!

    1. I wonder if there’s a chance, Mark Ferguson – currently, Chair of Unison’s Labour Link – could be expelled from the Union, after his shabby performance at Conference.

  2. Delighted by this news – well done Unison members,
    Regarding Paul Holmes I suggest that he makes a formal complaint to the Certification Officer about his suspension. Trade Unions unlike the Labour party are obliged to adhere to their rules and act within them. If they fail to do so there are any number of sanctions the Certification Officer can apply against them up to and including suspending their certificate to operate as a Trade Union ( ie shutting them down)
    Paul is an elected officer and like any other member can only suspended if he has broken he rules of the Union e.g. bringing Unison into disrepute ( that’s a laugh given that they employ Emilie “smelly cow pube head” Oldknow) but it would be up to Unison to prove that he had done wrong and that the suspension was a proportionate response. I don’t think they would be able to do this and they would probably be ordered by the Certification Officer to reinstate him.
    He has nothing to lose so he should go for it in my opinion.

  3. Why can’t they reinstate Paul Holmes
    The left must show strength and resolve, really
    The right are kicking heads in and your apologising for the blood on the carpet
    FFS

  4. This is great news!! It means the representation of Unison on Labour’s NEC could change and the actual right wingers substituted by left Unison’s reps. Suddenly, the right could lose its majority in Labour NEC.
    Unison’s NEC should fire for gross misconduct those that didn’t follow Unison’s agreed line at Conference.
    I bet David Evans isn’t having a good day, without the vote of Unison, he wouldn’t have been confirmed as General Secretary of the Labour Party.

    1. Maria
      All democratic systems have a recall option, in public law there is always the power to use your discretion in unusual circumstances
      Time to get an opinion

    1. Prem Sikka didn’t get a chance to call the vote, this evening.

      Those who were opposing him, made so much noise, The Speaker claimed she hadn’t heard him call for a vote and the chance was lost.

      Labour abstention, or no Labour abstention.

      1. Prem Sikka :

        14h
        Lords to debate triple-lock soon. A number of votes possible. I ask for full triple-lock. Govt opposing, Labour abstaining. Chances of successful outcome are miniscule. But I will push on. Put down markers, give visibility to injustice, poverty and neglect of retirees.

        Prem Sikka :

        11h
        Well, folks, I have been cheated out of a vote on the triple-lock. I am angry. The speaker claimed she didn’t hear me call loudly for a vote. My voice was drowned by opponents. So no vote took place.

        Prem Sikka :

        7h
        It is just as bad or even in the House of Commons. The Speaker has apparently not allowed any amendments that challenge the govt’s budget. What is this country coming to? How can MPs scrutinize govt policies?

  5. The vote was to confirm the abolition of the Pension Triple Lock. Labour abstained, yes that’s right Labour wants pensioners to be even poorer off.

    1. Baz2001 No surprises except amongst our European expats who already have much higher pensions than us on a British pension..WE are at the end of our lives and the government cant even honour a mediocre pledge for that short time….ITs a sign that whoever is in government the importance of any vulnerable group is of no consequence because how can you have a monetary value on somthing ready for the scrapheap.ITs so very different for us left behind here when the flights Stopped.We are valued because of the traditional Buddhist belief in ancestors and living in a country where poverty is rife theres always a reminder of just how lucky we are.Back in Britain I say how dare you treat your elderly in such a way,youve murdered us in care homes and ignored the feeble pensions that wouldnt even cover your bar and restaurant bills per month in the House of Horrors.This is not left or right its an abomination to screw your elderly people and almost laugh whilst you spend extra money to protect themselves from the public…..No shortages of money for themselves and that in a nutshell is the problem of British society.

      1. Average pension in the EU is approx £23,000. How much in the UK, £8600?

        Labour thinks that’s far too much…..

        That’s what Starmer is all about, that’s what he wants us pensioners to scrape by on. Scumbags the lot of them.

  6. Then hopefully their will be a debate and persons called to account in Unison for it’s disgraceful dumping of member and council worker Stan Keable who was sacked for debating (outside of his work) the Havara agreement with a zionist at the ‘enough is enough’ demonstration against Corbyn. Both his employer, Labour controled Hamersmith council and Unison implied he had been anti semetic.
    He went on to win the case against the council and a (non binding) ruling for re-enstatement, in what I think was an important victory for us all.
    …..,She (the judge) added: “If it was within the range of reasonable responses of a reasonable employer to dismiss an employee in circumstances where they have lawfully exercised their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, unconnected in any way to the workplace, without using language which was personally abusive, insulting or obscene, and when their views and opinions have, without their consent, been published and caused offence to some, or indeed many people, then there is a very great risk of dismissal to any person who expresses their lawful political views outside the workplace.”
    I think it is chilling to watch the narative of ‘anti zionism or criticism of Israel is anti semitism’ seeping out of Labour party into the unions and wider society, used a a cosh to brow beat the left or those who stand and fight for worker’s rights .
    https://www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk/article/stan-keable-exonerated-an-important-victory/

    1. Things have greatly improved there but the Tories did permanent damage to the borough through sharing council services with other boroughs, slashing council tax which is always difficult to raise, not a vote winner. They also sent loads of people made homeless by selling land to developers up north. It was a flagship Thatcherite borough and they lost control because they wanted to sell the Charing cross hospital to developers….a bridge too far. Talking of bridges, the Tories are currently trying to get Hammersmith back using the bridge as a hostage: https://www-onlondon-co-uk.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.onlondon.co.uk/hammersmith-bridge-shapps-bailey-and-bullshit-a-handy-timeline/amp/?amp_js_v=a6&amp_gsa=1&usqp=mq331AQKKAFQArABIIACAw%3D%3D#aoh=16359542266791&amp_ct=1635954288700&referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&amp_tf=From%20%251%24s&ampshare=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onlondon.co.uk%2Fhammersmith-bridge-shapps-bailey-and-bullshit-a-handy-timeline%2F
      However, Shaun Bailey is their favoured candidate and thankfully many people loathe him.

      1. Thanks Lundiel, I didn’t know any of this.
        Surely the Tories and LibDems are going to pile on the fact that so far Hammersmith & Fulham pursue of the case against Stan Keable has costed Hammersmith & Fulham residents in the region of £130K on direct compensation for lost of employment and pension contributions, before legal cost are added on.
        I hope that Hammersmith & Fulham offers Keable his job back, otherwise the Employment Tribunal will awards further compensation.
        Resident will rightly be concerned as to why this waste of their money?

      2. Hammersmith very recently lost its appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal and the order to reinstate Mr Keable was upheld. If they refuse to obey the EAT order and Mr Keable has to be compensated the compensation is likely to run to at least tens of thousands – his age salary the possibility of gaining similar employment with similar pension rights/expectations etc would all have to be considered .

  7. Contrary to earlier posts, the Lords eventually voted to keep the triple lock but with the provision that adjustment could be made in view of the cost of Covid. It means the government now either accept the amendment or continue with a political row going back and forth between the Houses. A victory of sorts, I suppose. Time will tell.

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