Analysis Breaking comment

Unison president Holmes reinstated as union drops suspension – but doesn’t tell him for a month

Delay means elected left-winger misses key union events

Paul Holmes

Unison has reinstated its elected president, left-winger Paul Holmes, after a suspension of more than a year – and a ban on branches supporting him in his battle against what supporters say is a political disciplinary by Kirklees Council.

No reasons for either the union’s action or the council’s prolonged targeting of Holmes and his Unison branch have ever been made public.

But – in what Unison’s elected left says is part of a war by the union’s right-wing management against their democratic mandate – Holmes’s reinstatement was not communicated to him for more than a month after it took place.

Holmes is considered a serious threat to the right’s regime after coming close to defeating right-wing favourite Christine McAnea in the general secretary election on a ticket of taking only the average wage for the role instead of the usual high salary – a contest he would almost certainly have won had other ‘left’ factions not insisted on standing their preferred candidates despite Holmes’s obvious popularity with the Unison rank and file.

Despite that setback the ‘Real Change’ left slate has since won a series of victories, with Holmes elected as union president while the left won a majority on Unison’s national executive and its ‘LabourLink’ committee that interfaces with the Labour party.

The right-wing administration, meanwhile, has fought an unjustified battle to avoid implementing the decisions of the elected left majority – with the union’s delegates even ignoring official Unison policy to vote with Keir Starmer’s wishes at September’s annual party conference. The left’s LabourLink majority was nullified by the expulsion without process, on an excuse of retrospective grounds, of a Unison youth delegate to the committee.

According to Unison insiders, the delay between Holmes’s reinstatement and his being informed of it meant that he missed several key union events.

One told Skwawkbox:

There have been rumours for some time that Kirklees Council’s targeting of Paul has collapsed. Although the result of that process hasn’t been officially confirmed, it looks like the union management knows something about it and is backtracking now. Either that or they’re hoping that if they reinstate Paul and then Kirklees sacks him, they can get rid of him while maintaining an appearance some distance from the stitch-up.

But they wouldn’t even let branches support him, which would normally be unthinkable when any rep, let alone the union’s president, was being persecuted by an employer. It sent a terrible message and it just stank.

Unison’s press office has ignored every previous attempt to obtain comment, so was not contacted for this article.

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  1. It is time the Unison Left majority now acted upon the legal advice given, and investigated the source of right wing sabotage in the union’s administration, and sacked them.
    It is as simple as that.

    1. I think most people on the left have by now had more than enough evidence, since GE19 to conclude that The Electorate were scammed by The oCriminal Elites. We can’t turn back time, we can’t win the next GE, but we can 1. Secure the 10pm Ballot Box loophole, shadows for everywhere else in the GE process and organise an en masse Coup/Tactic to Vote OUT every Neo-New-Labour Party Parasite TORY MP, Vote Against every Neo-New-Labour Party Parasite TORY Candidate and do the exact opposite, Vote IN Every UK Labour Party MPs and Candidates. What we have to decide is a) Are we voting them out by voting for their strongest opponent. b) Vote for one of the Small New Parties if they have Candidates for all seats. c) Vote for The Greens, not ideal but a damn side better care taker for 5 years than having Blue Keef or BoJoke in Nr10! or d) A combination of b) & c) to cover seats without candidates for the Chosen New Party.
      This has to be well documented so that there are no mistakes in who to vote in and who to vote out. Meaning each MP/Candidate’s Pros and Cons so that the electorate can make up their own mind on which MPs/Candidates are Neo-New-Labour Party Parasite TORIES to Voted OUT and which MPs/Candidates are UK Labour Party to Vote IN.
      It would make the job of shaking out the Neoliberal Neo-New-Labour Party TORIES of the HQ and UNIONS.
      We could finally have our Party and Unions, back out there Fighting for The PEOPLE and NOT for The Criminal Elites. Perhaps even see the return of something that resembles normality in life, instead of Distopia 3.0!

      1. I’m afraid the only thing we can do to affect any election result is to vote Tory in marginals. Anything else is a wasted vote and you are saying more by writing “none of them” on your ballot paper. Voting green is voting for another liberal party. If you live in a marginal you can punish new Labour but you have to allow the Tories to win again.

      2. Yup, that’s what I’ve been saying for ages, you’re right. If I personally had a choice of not Voting Tory knowing that there is a coup to back up an alternative, I would do that, even the Greens as untoward that would be, but if I had to choose between the TORY FILTH who screwed The PEOPLE over for 43 years or the Equally Evil TORIES FILTH, who spent 4 Years and 3 Months Sabotaging and Screwing The PEOPLE out of TWO, Once in a Lifetime Opportunities to End 43 Years of TORY HELL, I would most happily and eagerly vote for the first, to destroy the second. We have Parasite TORIES Occupying the Opposition Party, until we remove ALL the Parasite TORIES we will never be able to establish an Opposition Party for The PEOPLE. Perhaps after another 5 Years of BoJoke The PEOPLE would finally wake up, those of us who survive the fuckers, at least!
        Exactly the same problem for the US Electorate, 2 Neoliberal Main Parties and no Opposition.
        Also the same dilemma for The Middle East with all the West’s Occupation of vast areas they can’t return to normality. And same again for the Palestinians, they can’t return to some sort of normality and exercise self-determination with parasite PA bowing to the Colonising Zionist Regime.
        May we all son be free from Fascist Control! South America seems to be doing very well at the moment. I think uncle Sam picked too many big boy fights to poke his nose Southwards!

      3. I see it as my duty to help send a message to new Labour that centrism doesn’t mean electibility.

        I want more than a message, I want to see them DESIMATED as they desimated our Opportunity to end 43 Years of TORY HELL!
        It could have ended 2019, but their Propaganda, Sabotage, Undermining, Smearing, Lying, Conniving Robbed The PEOPLE of a Better, Greener, Healthier, life of Equality, Justice, Peace, etc!
        I can confirm I hate Thatcher’s Neoliberal Neo-New-Labour Party Parasite TORIES Far More than I hate Thatcher’s Neoliberal Conservative Party TORIES and that is quite some, the usual ‘enabler’ comments, are entirely wrong not Enabler, but Disabler! We have Parasite TORIES within, they are far more Dangerous than an Opposition Party WITHOUT Parasite TORIES! We’ll just end up on the same American Style Eternal, THIS Destructive TORY or THAT DESTRUCTIVE TORY Merry-Go-Round from Hell with no getting off, because with a Full House of Neoliberals, Democratic Socialists will disappear, we are already down to, little more if at all, than 20! Without the Democratic Socialist stepping stone forget about Socialists/Communists taking a seat.

  2. I am so glad Paul has been reinstated and can take up the role the members elected him to. The NEC should now instruct the full time officials to provide a report on his suspension for their consideration e.g. was the suspension done in good faith or was it malicious, why did it take so long to notify him the suspension was lifted etc. If anyone acted in bad faith or maliciously then disciplinary action must be instigated against that individual/ individuals- natural justice alone requires that.
    Regarding Kirklees Council, it is unlikely that they will proceed to dismissal at this stage in my opinion. If someone is guilty of wrongdoing its usually obvious right away and the ACAS guidelines make it clear there should be no foot dragging in disciplinary cases.
    Paul would also have access to an Employment Tribunal if they decided to dismiss him. If the Tribunal found against him ( highly unlikely in the circumstances) he could appeal. Employment Tribunal decisions are appealable up to and including the Supreme Court. Paul would not have to worry about costs because as a Unison member he would be able to avail of the Union’s Legal assistance scheme. So I don’t think Paul need fear losing his job.
    However the whole sorry episode exposes the viciousness at the right wing heart of Unison – a despicable excuse for a Trade union .

    1. Smartboy
      What do you mean
      ‘Was the suspension done in good faith or not’
      Are you really saying the NEC doesn’t know
      How about moving straight to dismissal of those officials responsible for Gross Misconduct

      1. Smartboy
        Did not see your post below, let’s hope
        As per GS, no one is beyond the law

      2. Reply to Doug
        Unfortunately a Gen Sec is elected by the members and can only be displaced by the members when an election is due. If the Gen Sec is over (I think) 55 years of age then they are there for as long as they decide to stay
        Also irrespective of age, even if a Gen Sec commits a criminal offence they cannot be removed from their job unless there is a specific rule in the unions constitution to allow for this.
        Therefore Doug a Gen Sec is above the law between elections and those elected past the age of 55 are permanently beyond the law as far as their jobs are concerned.
        I know this is hard to accept – quite disgusting in fact – but it is how the law stands at this time.

  3. The so called “Management” of Unison should now be sacked, I would like to see them put in the stocks and pelted with rotting fruit and veg, but giving them their p45’s is what we can realistically ask for.

    1. The main problem with that John is that the most senior member of staff, the General Secretary is elected by the membership not appointed by a union committee and therefore cannot be sacked. However all other fulltime officials are appointed and I agree with you 100% that disciplinary action should be instigated against them for gross misconduct (which is a sackable offence). It is up to the NEC to ensure this happens sooner rather than later.

  4. Nows the time for a thorough investigation,thats hoping that the evidence has not been buried.IN any case the president must use the powers he has and influence to root out the wreckers inside and outside of unison.I am aware that there are real dangers in uncovering the parasites infesting the whole Labour movement but moving forward quickly may catch some napping
    I think it’s good news and a second chance,and I am sure that many Labour party members wish that they had the same opportunities to rally round a true Socialist and Opposition leader..

  5. Surely, when an organisation changes a decision that affects how you interact with said organisation, someone from the organisation is responsible for informing you? Who ever that person is at Unison re Paul Holmes’ suspension should be named and shamed.

    It might not be poliically opportune for Paul or his cause to take take this line, and, certainly, none in the synchronised MSM would publicise it anyway, but this entire fiasco has been a political project and its existence needs to be acknowledged and redressed.

  6. The TUC should exclude them if there are any more instances of this nature.

    Bunch of anti-democratic, toerag-enabling rodents that they (unison) are.

    1. They are Tories Toffee. I wouldn’t be surprised if a BoJoke Government is a softer Tory option than a Blue Keef Neo-New-Labour Party Parasite TORY Government, the Nasty Fuckers that They Are!

  7. This is great news and let’s hope he gets his job back with Kirklees too.
    But disgraceful actions by unelected officers of the union if not criminal?
    Serious disciplinary action needs taking against these Right Wing officers who seem to think the union is their property?
    Solidarity to Paul and all socialists in Unison, hope it will fight for diverse working people.

    1. n.b.Smashing the glass ceiling is reference to best jobs for bourgeois women. She never did anything for the poor & if you really want to judge who & what she believes in, just look who sings her praises right now. Born bourgeois.

    2. Very good news Golbach…..and I hope she takes the double act Drommey….
      Dummy with her……
      .Private education for their children in the beginning of the landslide victory in nintey seven…. Made it very clear were her loyaltys are and even managed to embarrass Our very own Tony Blair.with further scandals?

  8. On another note (And not before time) I see harriet ‘wimmin’ harman’s spewing it come the next election, saying she was: “now confident that Labour is gaining strength under the leadership of Keir Starmer”.

    Of course it is, dear. Of course it is. 🤦‍♀️

      1. Toffee ITs taken nearly thirty years for her face to fit in the Labour party and now she is bailing out……
        I wonder why miss posh frocks is legging it?poor miss posh frocks she will be missed no doubt in this version of the Labour party.?

    1. Peadophile Protection Unit!
      According to the Daily Mail of Course, back when Harman was considered on the “Left Wing” and a Threat to the Right Wing! What is it with Zionist Women and getting blamed for involvement with Paedophiles!?

      1. TBH I was fooled by Harman for a long time, eventually the things start popping their heads out. For what it’s worth she’s a damned good actress, at least she has a backup career.

  9. This is a serious issue, but I’m afraid most of the comments here are unhelpful. They read like Daily Mail contributions. It is necessary to establish exactly what happened in UNISON. Foaming at the mouth will not help.

    1. It isn’t easy to be helpful, but I think that “Smartboy07/12/2021 AT 11:29 AM” has it. Could branches pass motions to write to the NEC to urge them to commission an investigation? Anyone know UNISON’s constitution well enough to know?

    2. Brian Robert Smith….I don’t know if you are a relative of whingeing smiffy that just comes on here once in a blue moon and moans about the commentators..You add nothing to a range of passionate opinions so dont bother again .I don’t read the mail comments section of the daily filth but no doubt will be full of imbeciles comments like yours..full of themselves.

      1. ER – this is a forum for anyone at all – it would not be helpful to
        have everyone agreeing.

        HOWEVER .. Brian Robert Smith what do YOU think is a solution to
        the scandal of the way the Union President was treated? Which
        of the many posts about the matter is the most promising?

        It seems as though everyone is breaking the rules and getting away
        with it – starting of course with the Prime Minister. However he was
        always that way – no pretence!

        Ive just been looking through news items about the matter –
        and the other Unions appear to have been rallying round ..

    3. Sad to say but there are only 2 current journalists that I would give the time of day to Peter Hitchings & Peter O’Bourne, both work for the Daily Mail. I often don’t agree with what they may say but they are not afraid to ask difficult questions about Israel & Palestine.

  10. I wake up this beautiful sunny 🌞day and apart from Bolton wanderers having been dumped on by bottom of the league Fleetwood I have to have read some good comments from dedicated commentators with a wide range of passionate opinions and views often in a amusing format,but most importantly I actually learn somthing from the long memorys and personal experiences of commentators.One particular makes a dull moment amusing with his poetic veiws on life on planet earth….What more could we wish for in a Britain under the cosh of fascism and a media that supports them.?More left wing sites like Squaekbox and the Canary that spill the beans on a corrupt government and a supportive second rate tory tribute act like the Labour party.

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