Supporters accuse Labour and Unison right of collusion and stitch-up – union had banned branches from supporting Holmes despite collapse of Unison’s own suspension
Left-wing Unison president Paul Holmes has this morning been dismissed from his job with Kirklees Council, despite a ’48-year unblemished record’. Holmes’s suspension was dragged on needlessly by the Labour-run council for eighteen months after the conclusion of a private consultant’s investigation into unspecified charges.
Holmes was unable to comment this morning except to say that the matter will now become a legal one, but his supporters have long accused the council and the Unison right of colluding to remove Holmes as the union’s president – and Unison has banned its branches from supporting him, as well as offering no support and allegedly obstructing his defence, despite the collapse of its own suspension of the veteran union man.
Unison’s management has been accused of conducting a campaign of non-cooperation and obstruction since the left achieved a democratic majority on the union’s executive, including the president’s and both vice-presidents’ positions, leading the country’s leading labour lawyer to conclude that they were liable to summary dismissal for gross misconduct.
Update: Nigel Pearce has released a statement on behalf of Holmes:
Statement made by Nigel Pearce on behalf of Paul Holmes at the conclusion of Paul Holmes’s disciplinary case on February 2, 2022
Paul Holmes is the National President of UNISON (the largest trade union in the UK with 1.3 million members). He has been Branch Secretary of the Kirklees UNISON branch for 32 years.
Paul has been a council employee for 48 years and a Union steward for 46 years. He has a completely unblemished record in his 48 years with the council. The decision to dismiss him is completely indefensible. It follows him being suspended by the council for 2 years and 2 months.
The investigation into this issue by a private consultant finished 18 months ago.
Paul will not let this issue rest. He could have retired with 48 years’ service, but he is determined to clear his name and let everyone know the real reasons behind his dismissal. The whole trade union movement needs to show solidarity with Paul: he is a member of the TUC General Council and National President of the UK’s largest trade union.
We have nothing to else to say at present, but we will be making a more detailed statement in the next few days.
Unison is the UK’s biggest union but dominated by the right for years and the right is determined to maintain its control whatever the wishes of the union’s membership. The idea that a union would not only fail to campaign for, but also ban support for, its own president when targeted by an employer ought to be unthinkable. That it is not is a scandal – and sends a horrifying message to Unison members and to exploitative, bullying employers.
Solidarity with Paul Holmes.
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