Analysis Breaking comment

Irish Unite branches demand response from Graham about ‘London’ attack on Ogle

Union members rally behind Ireland’s senior trade unionist against ‘London’ attempt to sideline him

The Unite union in Ireland has been stirred like a hornet’s nest by what the wife of Brendan Ogle says is a political attack from London on her husband, the country’s most senior Unite officer, who has just returned to work after intensive cancer treatment.

Mandy La Combre posted to her Facebook page about the ‘disgusting’ attempt to sideline Ogle and demote him to a job to an office some 100 miles from his home.

Unite continues to deny her allegations, but the country’s Unite branches have begun to organise in solidarity with their representative – and the union’s entire Irish hospitality and tourism section has already written to the union demanding answers and a U-turn.

And now the 1/87 branch met in Dungarvan and agreed the following to be sent to Unite general secretary Sharon Graham, expressing their ‘absolute outrage, disgust and deep concerns’ at the ‘mistreatment and bullying’ they say has been directed at their officer – and demanding his immediate reinstatement:

For the immediate attention of Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham

Dear Sharon,

I write to you following the conclusion of the 1/87 Branch meeting that took place on Tuesday 13th September in Dungarvan Co.Waterford.

On behalf of the branch officials, committee and workplace representatives and Unite members they represent, we must convey and not underestimate the absolute outrage, disgust and deep concerns displayed and robustly conveyed owing to what is now full public knowledge, in that our Senior Officer and comrade Mr.Ogle who has recently returned to his role following a long illness and recovery from cancer in what can only be quantified as a deliberate attempt to marginalise and exclude Mr. Ogle from undertaking his full duties as the Senior Officer of Unite.

Without question our branch have ultimately determined that the above disgusting mistreatment and bullying of our Senior Officer cannot and must not be condoned by any organisation let alone Unite the Union.

Notwithstanding that all organisations support and comply to a zero tolerance to bullying in any form, therefore we are seeking in fully supporting Mr. Ogle that he is immediately returned to his full duties as the Senior Officer of the ROI.

Mr.Ogle has and will continue to be a leader in the fight against unscrupulous employers in identifying, challenging and fighting the exploitation and abuse of worker’s rights.

As Trade Unionists we must hold all employer’s accountable if they refuse to or renege on any of these standards inclusive of all Unions.

We will continue and endeavour to extend our undivided support and solidarity to Mr. Ogle while we await your response and position as General Secretary.

Sharon Graham is scheduled to appear in Dublin next week for Unite’s Irish policy conference. Suffering cancer is a protected characteristic under UK equality laws. The union is said to have attempted to claim concerns about Brendan Ogle’s health, but both doctors and occupational health experts have certified him for a full return.

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9 comments

  1. Having received this letter from the Branch (with others probably on their way) I’d say there is more chance of pigs flying than there is of Sharon Graham turning up in Dublin for a policy Conference next week.

    1. Smartboy, time for a positive test and 2 weeks in a hermitage. Or, a visit to Ukraine to assess Trade Union strength in Kiev.

      1. That’s right Wobbly – lol – anything would suit her better than facing the hostility of outraged Irish members.

  2. Unite the Union – what on earth is going on, in your London office? First the ‘Black Propaganda’ against the grassroots Enough is Enough campaign, and now this, against a well respected, senior Irish Union official?

    An urgent inquiry, into your London office and officers, is called for – immediately!

    Solidarity, with the Enough is Enough campaign!

    Solidarity, with Brendan Ingle!

    Sort yourselves out, Unite!

  3. With you there George Peel. Solidarity with EiE, Solidarity with Brendan O, but what is all this telling us about Sharon Graham?

    We need to get to the bottom of Alliance for Workers’ Liberty (AWL claim that she had banned Unite representatives from supporting or quoting the ‘Enough is Enough‘ campaign. Separately, why was Skwawkbox threatened with legal action when SW raised a Request for Comment on the Brendan O matter?

    1. There is something very strange going on, qwertboi.

      As you know, but for the benefit of others, Enough is Enough was started by the editor of Tribune magazine, + one other, on the 08 Aug 22.

      Within one month, the campaign had garnered 500,000+ signatures. No idea what it stands at, at the moment. The sort of grassroots campaign, I would have thought Unions would have been, only too willing, have thrown their support behind.

      RMT and, as you say, CWU were supportive, almost, immediately.

      Almost, everywhere there was a meeting, there were queues round-the-block, to get in and listen. Newcastle, Norwich, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow(twice) – packed halls.

      In Manchester, the cathedral was rammed, and as many more outside, who couldn’t get in.

      A Union’s dream – you would think.

      Then the black propaganda started. Whispers, at first. Then, louder. Eddie Dempsey was made the focal target. ‘Ultra-right winger’. ‘Tommy Robinson character’. A Breixteer – which, he admits to.

      Eddie made a speech, he later admitted, could have been taken the wrong way, and apologised. The video of the speech was circulated – a lot.

      It only stopped when an earlier video, of Eddie, from 2014 was unearthed, showing him making a very strong anti-right-wing, anti-fascist speech, prior to a demonstration, to stop a fascist demonstration, in East London.

      It’s got to the point where he’s now – either, threatening to, or is – taking out a suit against a guy called Femi.

      Femi was prominent in the People’s Vote campaign prior to GE19, and, as far as I know, is, still, anti-Brexit.

      In my opinion, Femi is a publicity hound. His rhetoric is empty, with not a lot of sense to it. Easily dispensed with.

      Then, of course, we had the debacle of the Unite event, last weekend, with Nandy’s will she/ won’t she appear, on the platform, and the resultant Union ban on any association with Enough is Enough.

      Now, Brendan Ogle.

      Where did it all come from? My suspicion is, it originated with The Labour Party, with the use of some useful idiots, in Unite the Union. Enough is Enough, threatened their turf.

      Were the signatories, to the campaign, to become ‘Members’, paying monthly membership fees, plus donations, it would – easily – be a bigger movement than Starmer’s Labour Party. Reminiscent of the first two or three years of JC’s insurgency. It must be buttock-clenching time, in Southside.

      So, to answer your questions – I have no idea where Sharon Graham fits into it all. Is she part of it? Is she going along with it, in the hope of weeding out Labour Party collaborators? She strikes me as a smart cookie, not to be underestimated, but, even that, I’m not sure of.

      The one thing I am, reasonably, certain of is, Southside Labour have a part to play. It’s in their interests.

      1. Yes George P. It’s almost inevitable that the Labour party faction I call ‘entryist/enterist’ – i.e. the ‘third-way’ trilateralists, the ‘moderates’, the ‘centrists’, the ‘blairites’ – are causative agents of all this. They can’t not be.

        Interesting point on how Eddie Dempsey is targeted by those who want to destroy Enough is Enough and that they try to use his brexit and his anti-fascist positions against him. (a marker of centrist/starmer dirty tricks?)

        You’d imagine that a politician as shrewd, sharp and bright as Sharon Graham would see the dynamics at play here v clearly. She needs to be more open about the underhand actions of some in her union, unless, of course, she’s a wiling accomplice.

  4. Looking at the Enough is Enough website – https://wesayenough.co.uk/about-us/ – I suspect that the decision by Unite to be stand-offish is probably some inter-Union politics at work. CWU seem very much the driving force here but this hasn’t been a disincentive for those such as Mick Lynch (RMT) to lend their support.

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