Analysis Exclusive

Exclusive: Unite bans branch from making donation to makers of Corbyn film

After blocking showings of ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn/The Big Lie’ in Unite buildings, union also bans donations to support film

Sharon Graham’s Unite has been heavily criticised – even by some of her former supporters – for its decision, broken exclusively by Skwawkbox, to ban the showing of Platform Films‘ ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn/The Big Lie’ in any of its buildings – one of many signs of Graham’s growing accomodation with the Keir Starmer regime, including an invitation to Starmer to lecture union delegates at last week’s policy conference in Brighton.

But the union has gone further – banning branches from even making donations to support the film and its makers.

An email sent by Unite’s south-east region – the same office whose email first gave away the union-wide ban on the showing of the film in Unite buildings – to the south-east branch that had overwhelmingly passed a motion to donate £500 to Platform Films reveals that the union is even blocking donations to the makers, despite the obvious public and member interests in exposing the actions of the Labour right:

I will draw your attention however to Rule 17.3 within the Unite rule book, of which all branches should be aware:

‘Branches shall have direct access to a proportion of membership subscriptions. Such a proportion and access arrangements to be determined by the Executive Council, and may be conditional on performed compliance with financial reporting requirements. These funds may be used to meet the cost of administering the Branch; for recruitment and other campaigns approved by the Executive Council; for local affiliations; to assist members or their dependants who have suffered misfortune; or for any other worthy cause, subject to any provisions elsewhere in these rules, and that no general purposes funds shall be used for political objects. Any payments made in connection with any form of industrial action must be made strictly in line with Executive Council guidance applicable at the time. Branch funds shall not be utilised to assist a member or former member in obtaining legal advice, assistance or representation in respect of any court, tribunal or other proceedings brought against (or intended to be brought against) the Union.’

Rule 17.3 clearly states ‘… that no general purposes funds shall be used for political objects’. Branches cannot use funds to make donations for political purposes. Any approaches made to Unite branches for political donations must be referred to the Regional Political Officer, which for the South East is Richard White. All political spend is done through regional and national political officers which the union is legally obligated to record and report.
Therefore, the wish of the branch (as outlined in the motion you sent to me) regarding making a donation to Platform Films in this instance can be described as political and therefore the branch cannot, under rule, make a donation.

Emphasis added

Rather than treat the donation under the ‘any other worthy cause’ provision, which would obviously appear to be the most applicable, the union is opting to treat donations to a non-political group as political, in order to ban them.

The accommodations with a right-wing, anti-union Labour regime are not the only controversies marking Sharon Graham’s tenure as Unite general secretary. She has been the subject of a string of allegations – which neither she nor the union has denied – of abuse, cover-up and failure to protect women:

But the union’s moves to impede people, including members, from seeing a film about the racism, fraud, defamation, sabotage, abuse of democracy and contempt for truth of the Labour right is perhaps one of the clearest signs that, despite Starmer’s and his faction’s contempt for the union movement and the outrage of members, and with as much camouflage as it can muster, Unite has swung behind the billionaire-loving Labour regime.

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  1. Sicke to death of toe rags like her infiltrating everything that was once good for the people. We need to irradiate her form of vermin from our lives or we will all stay fucked.

  2. Irradiate, eradicate, whatever. Sharon Graham & her cheer-leaders at The Morning Star are controlled opposition scum. Fuck both of them!

    1. Reply to Timfrom
      Don’t understand your comment about the Morning Star being Sharon Grahams cheerleaders – they don’t appear to be to me and their web page certainly doesn’t lend any weight to your view.

    2. How much does that bog roll cost these days. And to think that I used to…. bollocks.

  3. As a Unite member, I’m appalled by Graham’s ruling.
    I didn’t support her for her post anyway.
    She’s like so-many faux-left trade union leaders – Bought and paid for by the establishment.
    This is how the Labour Party’s relationship with the trade unions has been all my active life.
    During the Blair years I had a significant elected lay-officer post in MSF (now part of Unite).
    Because I wouldn’t be bought and paid for I was threatened, blackmailed, offered bribes.
    Sadly – Nothing changes.
    Today’s corrupt Labour leadership is a disgrace.
    Following Graham’s ruling, I will make a substantial donation to support the film-makers.
    I encourage other comrades to do the same.
    The truth is worth fighting for and supporting.

    1. johnsco1 – There are self evidently many different versions of ‘the truth’.🤔

      1. Only in the fevered subjective based post truth imaginations of little woke post modernists such as yourself steveH.

        You’ve been reading too much propaganda from those who, to quote Karl Rove, “create our own reality”.

        The kind of “truths” in this fantasy model of yours are analysed here for example by Caitlin Johnson:

        Out here in the real world objective evidenced based truth, in the form of reality, is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away. Whilst a lie can be three times round the world before the truth has got its boots on it will, sooner or later, catch you up and bite you so hard in the arse that even you won’t have any bullshit left to spew.

        Best keep off the ganja pal.

      2. Dave – Did you manage to impress yourself with that one?

      3. Translation: I (steveH) have no evidenced based counter arguments to this reality and so once again I’m running away because I can’t deal with the real world.

  4. If you go onto the Platform Films website and click “Clients”, Unite the Union is listed as one of their clients.
    Maybe some inconvenient truths have been identified by Platform films.
    Maybe their next film should identify the links of patronage, corruption and right-wing infiltration into the leaderships of major UK trade unions.
    These go back many years.

    1. johnsco1 – How is the enquiry into the infamous conference centre progressing?

  5. What would happen if 100 branches ignored the fuckers and staged the film with proceeds going to filmmaker and a charity nominated by JC
    Stand up and be counted, does anyone believe 8n anything anymore

    1. Doug – Given that just a few days ago Unite’s elected delegates overwhelmingly voted to reject the politically naive motion proposing that their Union disaffiliate from Labour I would think it’s a safe bet that the likelihood of that happening is next to zero.

  6. I’d urge all Unite members to cancel their political levy in protest the undemocratic and dictatorial actions of their leadership in favour of the right wing Labour Party, until their union stop funding them.

    If you’re in Unite, click on the link below, print the form, fill it in and hand it to your Branch Secretary:

    1. Reply to Terry Clarke
      Absolutely 100% right Terry. That is the only way – hit them in the pocket and members can then use the money saved on the political levy as they like.
      Also somebody needs to tell Sharon Graham and the rest of the Unite full time officials that numerous workplaces have multi Union recognition agreements in place and there is nothing to stop members resigning from Unite and joining other unions.
      They also need to be reminded that Unite is a TRADE UNION not a dictatorship, the rules are made by the members for the benefit of the members and can be changed by the members and the members pay the wages of the full time officials. In Unite we clearly have a case of the tail wagging the dog
      This needs to stop and its up to the members to stop it.

      1. ‘Smartboy’ – “They also need to be reminded that Unite is a TRADE UNION not a dictatorship”

        It was Unite’s members that chose Sharon Graham as their GenSec and it was Unite’s elected delegates who very recently voted overwhelmingly to remain affiliated to the Labour Party. Do you have a problem with democracy?

      2. Do you reckon that the tops of UNITE either get a clothing allowance or claim em on exes.

    1. Yes, Jamie Driscoll is now running as an independent candidate. He just confirmed he raised £30,000 in 2 hours, having said his fund raising target for the whole of August was £25k. He said, “People are tired of being controlled by Westminster and Party HQs. They want someone to stand up for them. Let the people decide.”

      … spot on

      1. JulieT
        Deja vu
        The people are crying out for someone decent

  7. Who’d join a UK Union when even they, being pretty much the last refuge for the oppressed, are tainted with fear, cowardice and apologetic vacillating weakness when lobbyists in dark suits come a-knocking on Union’s HQs?

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