Thursday, 10 December 2015

UNISON NEC tries to shut #unisongate after the horse has bolted

There was a meeting of the full NEC yesterday (I will blog a full report of the rest of the meeting later) before which a lobby took place by some London UNISON branches demanding an independent investigation, outside the ranks of UNISON's senior officials, into matters that are now clearly in the public domain (I bought a copy of 'Private Eye' magazine on the way home this evening, issue dated 11th-18th December 2015 No. 1407 and there is an article on Page 35 entitled 'UNISON on tape').  My fellow NEC member Jon Rogers has already blogged about this. See:

There was a statement read out at the start of the meeting by the President along the lines that the ballot for election of General Secretary had closed the previous Friday and that there was an ongoing investigation into complaints concerning a member of staff and ERS the ballot scrutineer were considering complaints that were their preserve, and that we should not discuss this at the meeting today and we were encouraged to refrain from commenting on the issues. This was the only comment that was going to be made.

This was challenged by the left NEC members present arguing that we should be able to discuss the process of investigation i.e. that we protect the reputation of our union and the confidence of our members in our own democracy by ensuring that there is a full and transparent process. This was not to expect the NEC to comment on whether individual members of staff have acted in breach of rule or committed acts of misconduct.

In reply we were told that a decision had been made by the top table. An NEC member raised a 'point of order' that we move to next business. A left NEC member (from the North West) asked for a vote on this which the President agreed. The subsequent vote was 32 to 21 in favour of moving to next business (I was one of the 21). It was then asked by another of the North West NEC members could we have a named vote of the NEC to which the reply was it was too late we were not taking a named vote. So the highest lay body in the union in between National Delegate Conferences did not discuss the process of the investigation. Watch this space in terms of what may unfold in the next few days and weeks. Any UNISON member who has concerns about alleged malpractice in connection with the General Secretary election should raise these concerns with the Returning Officer by email to (before the deadline of 5 p.m. 11th December 2015).

I will blog further about the rest of the NEC meeting later. 

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