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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