Right-wing rearguard action to delay implementation of suspension-lifting ends more than five weeks after it happened
Unison’s elected president, left-winger Paul Holmes, will attend TUC headquarters next week as the representative of his union, after right-wing delays in acknowledging and implementing his reinstatement from suspension finally appear to have collapsed.
As Skwawkbox reported earlier this week, Holmes was reinstated in early November by the union’s disciplinary body after a 24-month suspension without cause being given that Holmes’s supporters say was politically driven as the union right fights to negate the left’s democratically-achieved majority – but it took the union admin more than a month to get round to admitting that his suspension had ended.
But even then, the union machine continued to try to block Holmes from resuming his duties, according to Unison insiders – but now he is back in play and will go to the TUC next week in his role as president.
Holmes remains suspended by Kirklees council, which has never given any grounds for its action and has prolonged the disciplinary process. Unison activists condemned the union’s management for banning branches from any show of support for their elected president – sending a chilling message to Unison reps that they could not rely on the union’s support if they were targeted by unscrupulous employers because of their union activism – and claimed that the council’s move was coordinated with the union right to try to oust Holmes, who would have won last year’s general secretary election had parts of the left establishment not insisted on dividing the left vote.
The hearings, attended by large crowds demonstrating in support of their president, have finally come to an end and its decision is expected before Christmas. Whether the lifting of the union suspension is because right-wingers know the council has had to acknowledge its actions were unfounded, or as an attempt to distance themselves from a stitch-up is not yet clear, but inside sources have suggested that the disciplinary committee has been forced to vindicate Holmes.
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