Second left-wing president of right-run union to be targeted
Labour has expelled Unison president Andrea Egan from the party, a move that she has described as ‘devastating’. Labour’s pretext for the expulsion was the sharing of two tweets by recently-banned group ‘Socialist Appeal’ – the first one before the group was banned and the second a retweet of an article about her election as president.
Unison’s right-wing management does not appear to have commented on the attack on the union’s president, let alone condemned it.
Ms Egan commented:
I’ve given over a decade to the Labour Party. It’s devastating.
As the President of Unison, my message to our 1.3 million members has always been around unity. Now, what message can I give to members when they’ve kicked me out?
The Labour party and trade unions offer a place for working people to be united through. This move does nothing to support that.
We need unity. There’s only one enemy at the moment, and that’s the Tory government. We should be unified in our fight against them.
Egan is the latest high-profile victim of a purge of left-wingers based on actions that were perfectly fine under Labour’s rules when they were carried out – a planned and entirely intentional flouting of the legal principle that you can’t be prosecuted for something that wasn’t illegal at the time you did it.
She is the second left-wing Unison president in a row to be targeted by the right, after Unison’s last president – like Egan, elected to the position by the new left-wing majority on Unison’s national executive – was hounded out of the job, with many accusing the union of collaborating with Labour-right-run Kirklees Council to suspend and then sack Paul Holmes. Unison’s management did not condemn the council’s move, despite leaks revealing the council leadership’s plan to ‘break’ the ‘Unison trots’. Before becoming Unison president, Holmes had given the right a scare by coming close to defeating their candidate in the union’s general secretary election, losing only because other left candidates divided the right by failing to stand down when it was obvious that Holmes – who had promised to take only the same salary he was earning at the council – was the leading left challenger.
Unison’s left-wing executive has accused right-wing management, which even engineered conference motions smearing the left executive, of persistent obstruction of attempts to reform and democratise the union – conduct that the UK’s leading employment lawyer said amounted to gross misconduct meriting instant dismissal.
Based on the conduct of the Labour right toward the Unison left, many in the union and across the movement will disagree with Ms Egan’s comment that the Tories are the sole enemy.
SKWAWKBOX needs your help. The site is provided free of charge but depends on the support of its readers to be viable. If you’d like to help it keep revealing the news as it is and not what the Establishment wants you to hear – and can afford to without hardship – please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal or here to set up a monthly donation via GoCardless (SKWAWKBOX will contact you to confirm the GoCardless amount). Thanks for your solidarity so SKWAWKBOX can keep doing its job.
If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.