Analysis News

Labour expels Unison president

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.

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    1. Reply to Wirral
      There are many Unions which are Right Wing (and others that are not) but Unison is definitely the most right wing of the right wingers.
      It should call itself a “staff association” or something like that rather than a union because it lacks the fundamental principles of solidarity and fraternity necessary for an organisation to deserve the name “Trade Union”.
      Unison is and always has been a disgrace to the Trade Union movement.

  1. Even for someone as sceptical of the Starmerist faction as me this is amazing behaviour by StarmerCo. How to win friends and influence people. Not. He will need Unison in the GE or perhaps he’s decided not.

    1. Reply to Plain Citizen
      Do you really think Starmer’s Labour expelled the Left Wing Unison President without the backing of the Unison full time officials – the right wing Gen Sec and other senior staff of the union?
      There is no way this would ever happen. In my opinion Unison is in this up to their necks and they have stitched up Andrea Egan just like they stitched up Left wing President Paul Holmes before her.

  2. In today’s Guardian Starmer states:

    “I’m not tribal. I’m on very good terms with many Tory MPs. I’m not ashamed of it and I’ve got very good friends who are Tories and they’ve been very, very good friends of mine for a very, very long time, and long may that last.”

    So, there you have it. The great man has spoken.

    1. Tony…..old school chums from Reigate independent school near his former working class home in Oxted on the green Surrey..Its a jungle out there “especially for the knight of the realm”

  3. Notice how the right-wing press eg. the Times et al, are now pushing Starmer as some kind of saviour.

    In the BBC’s kid-glove interview with Starmer and Reeves, they reiterated a desire to ‘grow the economy,’ as if in possession of some magic formula hitherto unknown. Which party doesn’t want economic growth? Corbyn and McDonnell faced quick-fire Q&A interrogations, with highly cynical presenters constantly interrupting, demanding specific detailed fiscal proposals accounting for single every penny of planned spend – Starmer and Reeves are allowed to get away with this threadbare Teletubbies grade economics and platitudinous guff. Starmer doesn’t appear to be very bright, in his legal career he seems to have risen by being an establishment bag carrier, or fixer. Read Oliver Eagleton’s The Starmer Project.

    This version of the Labour party will be a nightmare if in power: more right-wing fiscally; more hawkish & secretive; more socially authoritarian, and the cherry on top, a health minister in the form of Wes Streeting you can well imagine having sneaky plans for privatising the NHS, with wannabe tyrant Starmer imposing a three-line whip to force the bill through.

    1. Reply to Andy
      I agree with you Andy and would go further. The three wooden tops – Starmer Reeves and Streeting -would make even Liz Truss look reasonable and competent.

  4. I know several Labour members who look-on unbelievably at actions like this*, The frequency causes them concern. Sooner or later the Starmer Regime will force their hands.

    Perhaps, that is their objective?

    * Of course the MSM does not inform them of sectarian anti-left instances. It is careful not to. Thank heaven that SW and Skwawkbox do.

  5. Many union leaderships are right wing.
    During the Blair years I held a fairly-important elected lay-office in MSF (now part of Unite).
    Because I was identified as a “person of influence”, I was subjected to astonishing pressure thru the union’s burocracy.
    I was repeatedly threatened, blackmailed and offered very-tempting bribes in the hopes that I would deliver my region for the Blairite faction.
    I told them to go and discover sex and travel
    As the Blairite charade became more transparent I left the party as the Right-Wing Shit-show was so toxic.
    Threats – Blackmail – Bribery …. Little hope of socialism there !

    Many activists I knew were drawn in.
    Many now occupy comfortable seats of power and influence in the unions.
    Everyone had to be “bought-and-paid-for”.
    It explains a lot.

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