General secretary hopes to take control of Unite NEC – but union fails to explain breaching of ‘Rule 6’
Unite is allowing at least one ineligible candidate to stand for election to the union’s ruling executive council (NEC) as long as they support general secretary Sharon Graham, according to members.
The union’s rulebook mandates that anyone wishing to stand for election to the NEC must be ‘an accountable representative of workers’, ie a workplace rep or branch role-holder:
Bristol-based Suzanne Muna is standing for election in the south-west, but locals say that she is neither a rep – Unite is not a recognised union in her workplace, only NEU, UCU and Unison – nor a branch office-holder and is therefore ineligible to stand.
Skwawkbox wrote to the union:
Suzanne Muna is a Sharon Graham supporter standing for election to the Unite executive in the South West. Locals are complaining that she is not Rule 6-compliant and is being pushed in through the back door in the hope of helping Ms Graham gain control of the exec.
Ms Muna is neither a rep as she works in a workplace that doesn’t have union recognition with Unite and she doesn’t at this point appear to have a branch role.
Please clarify no later than 5pm:
- on what basis is Ms Muna being treated as compliant with Rule 6 or on what other grounds is she being allowed to stand?
- is the current Unite executive aware of the situation and if so, has it voted on the matter?
- if Unite is saying that she is compliant, from what date did she become compliant?
- if she is being allowed to stand on some other ground outside Rule 6, how many other candidates are being granted similar waivers and by
Please note the usual request for a specific response to the points raised rather than the usual generalised deflection.
On previous enquiries, the union has responded with generalised smears against Skwawkbox that did not address, let alone deny, the points raised on such serious matters as the general secretary allegedly trying to have evidence destroyed that union staff had recorded to show her husband – who now holds a senior position in her team – engaged in bullying and threats of violence.
On this occasion, some thirty hours after the requested response deadline, Unite had not responded at all.
A union insider told Skwawkbox:
The executive hasn’t approved this and the rules are clear. If Unite’s allowing one supporter of Sharon Graham to stand despite her not meeting rule six, there’s no reason to think it’s a one-off. It’s appalling.
Update: Suzanne Muna has commented that has been recognised by Unite as a rep:
“Rule 6 applies to all committees in Unite: regional, sectoral, and national. We do not require employers to recognise a rep before we allow them to hold office. We only require them to be a bona fide representative of workers – which I am.”
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