Analysing the unison action broad left manifesto

Before anyone says that the document is not produced by the hard left faction ‘unison action broad left left’, let’s just be clear, they have produced it.

This is a short analysis of the document that is accompanying the hard left faction’s slate. If you disagree with this analysis, I welcome your comments. I would also welcome any comments from the candidates themselves. I very much doubt they will. As they have been whipped not to respond to this blog for fear of being exposed.

The National Executive Council Elections are very important for the leadership of our union. Every 2 years, we the members elect the leaders of our union. The NEC works in a democratic way on the principles of collective responsibility and accountability. They are a diverse group who represent the entirety of our union and make major decisions through discussion, debate, consensus and democratic process. The NEC employ staff to assist in delivering its work program and maintain its structures, including operating within the rules and values of the union. The governance of the union is overseen by the NEC who are lay members just like you.

FOR A LEADERSHIP THAT LEADS

We need a serious national leadership for joined-up strike action against the government & employers.

The hard-left fact believe that the response to any issue must be strike action. Driven on by their SWP/Socialist party sponsors, their intent is to use industrial action, not to better the working conditions and pay of our members, but to politicise disputes with the aim of overthrowing the government. In these circumstances the views and needs of members will become a means to achieving this primary aim. They do not care about what happens to members or the issues that arise out of conflict. They are very often no where to be seen after a dispute or be involved in the work required in rebuilding good industrial relations.

What this statement actually means is that they want to remove the legal safeguards and protections afforded to members, so they can initiate strike action whenever and for whatever they want. The hard-left faction care nothing for the consequences, legal or otherwise. They choose to shout it down claiming that the union is undemocratic and blairite. Nothing could be further from the truth, the final say on strike action is always that of the members.

ACROSS THE SECTORS

We must support members in every sector – including the private and community sectors, fighting to win collective bargaining rights.

This is an attempt to gain votes from the private and community sectors. The suggestion that UNISON does not support them is ridiculous. Hard working activists in both of these sectors are fighting to gain agreements with employers supported by the union. Of course the hard-left faction’s approach is to use strike action to try and force employers to their will.

FOR UNITY

UNISON must take a high profile lead, alongside other trade unions in fighting racism, as well as working with organisations opposing racism and fascism. For an anti austerity message of jobs, homes and services – not racism.

This one somewhat misses the mark as well as being offensive in the suggestion that UNISON does not fight racism or have a high profile in the fight. Of all the trade unions, UNISON’s record on fighting racism and fascism is solid. UNISON does have many affiliations with anti racism groups such as Hope not Hate, an arrangement that goes back to their inception. Let’s not forget that the hard-left faction wants to put in a motion to prevent Hope not Hate from attending our conferences.

I am not quite sure because of the way it is written, that they aren’t saying that UNISON is not putting out messages of anti austerity, jobs homes and services and putting out racist messages. If this is the case, they should be ashamed of themselves. Let’s remember, they were content to share racist materials on their facebook page. They refused to remove this material, which is there to this day. They attacked Dave Prentis for showing leadership and taking action against anti-semitism. Check their social media output and you will find nothing that attacks anti-semitism.

They were repeatedly asked to give their position on anti-semitism, they never responded!

FOR A SOCIALIST, ANTI-AUSTERITY LABOUR PARTY

No more members’ money should go to support MPs/Councillors attacking Jeremy Corbyn. We must support any Councillors making a stand against cuts and call on Labour Councils to stand up against the cuts now.

The right to criticise the Labour leader or indeed any labour politician is the right of all Labour Party members where there is justification. To cut off support for people that share our values and provide a voice for us in parliament and local councils is naïve. It’s a bit “pot calling kettle” this one, given the amount of abuse they have given Dave Prentis and other officials of our union.

Labour Link have the responsibility to make decisions about financial support, which is actually limited in its operation. The fact the SWP/Socialist party members believe that they can dictate UNISON policy outside of rules beggars belief. The issues that surround Labour councils and austerity are very complicated and that is as much as I will say in this critique.

As far as I am aware, the Labour Party are a socialist anti austerity party, or am I mistaken? What they really mean is a SWP/Socialist party influenced Labour Party.

FOR A GENERAL ELECTION NOW!

We should be using our influence in the TUC for a national demonstration to kick this government out.

Anyone who believes that work is not being undertaken by UNISON through the TUC and Labour link does not know our union. UNISON and the TUC could call for a national demonstration, but in reality what would it achieve at this time? Time effort and resources would be better utilised in creating a credible alternative that is electable and supports UNISON’s aims and objectives.

Is having a demonstration really what is is important to UNISON members who are struggling with the cost of living, the threats to jobs and services and the uncertainty of Brexit?

FOR DEMOCRACY

Members and activists must have full transparent, democratic control over the union.

These elections are a transparent democratic process and members will make the decision on who represents them on the National Executive Council. The NEC has governance on all things which are moderated through the rules of the union and the agreed protocols and processes. What the hard-left faction mean by this is not actually about democracy or indeed transparency. What they want is to be able to ignore the rules, processes and procedures that do not fit their objectives. They want to overturn democratic decisions and scrap collective responsibility. Those that are currently on the NEC don’t even sit with the NEC. They prefer to be in a different room and not to engage fully with the democratic process. See my previous post  Upstairs Downstairs 

FOR FAIRER BRANCH FUNDING

Put the money where the work is!

The issue of funding is always going to be an issue as the resources of the union are not infinite. What they mean by putting the money where the work is; is linked to their attitude towards strike and funding of the SWP/Socialist party. There have been too many examples of monies being spirited away from branches preventing much needed work and functionality. There are strict rules surrounding the use of members money for good reason. Doubtless there will be much debate at National Delegate conference on this subject.

DEFEND THE RIGHT TO DISSENT!

Branches and members must have the right to campaign against national policy – including opposing pay deals – free from interference of unelected union officers.

This really does demonstrate their anti-democratic, anti-rules, separatist stance. One of their number was suspended from office and they perpetuated the myth that it was for speaking out against the Health pay deal. This turned out not to be true; the individual concerned was put under investigation because of their behaviour towards a member of staff. Sadly I don’t know the precise details, but is was sufficient to warrant an investigation. The matter has since been dealt with through the appropriate process. The decision to suspend the individual and the subsequent investigation was made by Lay officials of the NEC who have responsibility for these matters.

The NEC employs staff to undertake certain duties and on its behalf and work within the rules and direction of the NEC. All decisions are made by elected Lay officials. In the example given, the individual concerned appeared before a panel of elected Lay officials who made the decision based on the evidence presented under the a process of natural justice. Having heard the case, the decision was made to lift the suspension and as far as I am aware, no obvious sanction was imposed. Of course none of this was mentioned by the hard-left faction or on the individuals campaign facebook page. The hard-left faction continue to perpetuate the myth that their comrade was a victim of of over zealous paid officials.

Taking all of the above into account, what exactly is the relevance to ordinary subs paying members? Well not a lot really. As a member I want the people we elect to operate within the rules, support our union and most importantly support them when they need it. Unison action broad left work on an SWP/Socialist party agenda; they take a parochial view of the world based on their own agenda.

Reader, I ask you to seriously consider what a vote for anyone on their slate will mean for our union. We need strong voices to represent us and we need people who are interested in the issues that matter to us and that put our union first. It is perfectly ok for people to have different political view points but bring our union’s aims and values into those politics, not those political aims into our union.

The elections start on the 15th April 2019 and run until the 17th May, please choose wisely and continue to keep our union something to be proud of.

Thanks for reading.

G I Jayne

Is unison action broad left dead?

You could be fooled if you believe that to be the case, however I rather think that is what they are hoping, at least for the term of UNISON’s NEC elections. The hard left faction seems to have dropped ‘unison’ and the ‘broad left bit’ from its title now referring to itself as ‘action’. I was almost fooled by this slight of hand (if you believe that you will believe anything) until looking at the list of the usual ne’er do wells, socialist party and SWP members who they are asking you to vote for.

Perhaps they have realised what a toxic brand “union action broad left’ is? Sadly not, this band of charlatans are seeking to dupe members into voting for them by disassociation. Looking at the usual fantasy politics (straight from the SWP/Socialist party handbook) on the back of there flyer, there is absolutely nothing new. The claims and demands are exactly what they were in previous election documents. The main difference being they are not associating themselves with with the faction brand.

They have run a fringe meeting at UNISON’s Health conference this week and this is the measure of the intelligence of these people, they put exactly the same demands and claims on the hard left faction fringe meeting flyer as the put on the candidates flyer. Of course the reality of the situation is that they are seeking to avoid their candidates being penalised by the election procedure by keeping them away from the unison action broad left brand. Well this is obviously an epic fail as the health leaflet is in fact a smoking gun.

The hard left faction were formally classified by UNISON as an outside body and therefore unable to support candidates for the NEC elections. Sadly for them, they have failed in that endeavour having produced the leaflet and posted the candidate list on their facebook page. I am sure the scrutinisers will be taking a good look at this and the other evidence that exists, more about that in a future posting.

Members are free to vote for whom ever they please and of course the process must be carried out on a level playing field, something the hard left faction have failed to observe. Their objectives are clear, they are anti democratic, racist and just a little bit misogynistic. I would encourage members to vote wisely and not give these outlaws any more of a footing in our union.

As always reader, the evidence is out there, feel free to check it out.

Thanks for reading.

GI Jayne

Hard – left faction attacks Hope Not Hate

The latest target on the hard-left faction shit list is Hope Not Hate. One of the numpties posted that they had attended an event in Manchester and read a document from the Hope Not Hate stall that criticised the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn and his attitude to anti semitism. Now I don’t know about you? but Hope Not Hate I think, know a thing or two about racism and anti semitism. So incensed was the numpty that they. Are moved to right a resolution stating that HNH has no place at a trade union event.

One responder said “I stopped supporting them when it became clear they were very anti Corbyn’. The numpty responded “I’ve only just realised. Looks like it’s gone the same way as Momentum”. Reference was made to an article from 2018 regarding the mural debacle, saying “it was a very scathing article on Corbyn’. It was quite rightly scathing given the facts of the situation, so no disagreement with that particular numpty. Hope Not Hate

A furthernumty responds “I didn’t realise that were that bad”.

The hard-left faction were content to leave racist material on their Facebook page, and if you care to look you will see that it is probably still there. Unison action broad left fail to acknowledge that they are part of the problem. The fail to understand that they are adding to the fuel of anti semitism within the Labour Party. Think on this! They are content to allow anti semitism to continue rather than criticise the Labour leader when he fails to act and makes colossal gaffs like the mural issue and the countless other examples.

It now seems that the very people who shine the spotlight on these issues are to be vilified because they dare to point out the bleeding obvious. Their solution is not to combat anti semitism but ignore or remove the people that do. So they are content to spend their energy and the time of others in attacking HNH for challenging anti semitism. This is the action of a racist organisation that is rotten to the core. Don’t be fooled by these charlatans masquerading as the white knights (no pun intended but if the cap fits) who will rescue the union from the evil Blairites and right wingers. These people are dangerous as is their ideology.

Reader the evidence is there if you care to look, as always, don’t take my word for it.

Thanks for reading.

G I Jayne

Nominations Nominations

You may be forgiven for not noticing that prospective NEC candidates are currently seeking nominations from Branches for the forthcoming NEC elections. The hard-left faction, although trying hard not to fly the unison action broad left flag, are fielding about 50 candidates, if the list they are peddling in their begging letters are to be believed. The most recent of these was circulated at the Black Members Conference.

The list of demands on the leaflet are somewhat confusing, because it looks like they are demanding it of themselves. But let’s be generous and look at each one.

We demand unison action against racism (obviously slotted in to appeal to Black Members) Difficult to understand exactly what they are demanding, as UNISON’s record on challenging racism is pretty solid. Interesting they make this demand, given the fact they allowed racist material to be displayed on their face book page. Hypocrisy of the highest order.

We demand unison action to save our jobs Presumably this is a call for more strikes, as they are clearly failing to recognise the hard work of branches, activists and officers. As a lot of those named are officers and stewards of branches, are they suggesting that they themselves are doing nothing? Well, they are probably not putting the work in were its needed. If your response to everything is strike, you are bound to miss other oportunities.

We demand unison action for decent pay This suggests that UNISON has done nothing on pay, the last time I looked UNISON members voted on pay deals. The hard-left faction do not respect the decisions of members who make democratic decisions. Don’t they trust members to do this? You would think not.

We demand tories out now and a general election Straight from the SWP playbook. This call can be heard at the paste tables of the SWP and Socialist party in most cities. Interesting that they are not demanding this of UNISON, in fact it is not clear who they are demanding it of?

Let’s have a look at some of the comments contained within a unison action broad left nomination request.

The way the nec works must change and It must reach decisions member’s want.

The union works in a democratic way, so by default not everyone is going to be satisfied, It is of course right and proper that democratic decisions are supported by all members of the NEC by virtue of collective responsibility, something the hard-left faction are not keen on.

Given that this individual prefers to segregate themself from the NEC by sitting in a different room, I think I may agree with this one; yes turn up and get involved!

Not content with continuing austerity, members in this region are being forced to work for no pay.

Now forgive me if I am wrong, but isn’t what is described here slavery? Wouldn’t you expect this individual to be reporting this to the police? At the very least you would expect them to do something about it it?

The rule  book states we  are a member led union. But are we? Or are we led by  unelected  paid officers, the  majority of whom are NOT unison.members. And what about the majority  of the  current nec? Can  they  really be  trusted to defend our  member’s.?

This is a long running claim by the hard-left faction that has no basis in fact whatsoever. It does emphasise their total ignorance of how the union works and given this individual has been a member of the NEC for a number of years, it clearly demonstraits that they have not been paying attention. Paid officers of the union are employees of UNISON, who are free to join a trade union. There are a number of trade unions recognised by unison who make up the staff side just like any progressive employer. Some of them are UNISON members mainly for reasons of solidarity. If UNISON did not employ people it would not be able to function.

Can the current NEC members be trusted? Well I don’t think I would be trusting this individual. I am sure that this sort of rhetoric is the cause of great offence to current NEC members who do work hard on behalf of the members.

There must be no more polical witch hunts. Both  branches and members must  have the  right to campaign against  national policy- including  opposing  pay deals – free from faceing  suspension and free from the interference of unelected  of paid officers.

Please read my previous blogs on this subject. To summarise, an individual is currently suspended from UNISON and is under investigation. The hard-left faction are claiming it is for speaking out against UNISON policy. The truth of the matter is that they don’t know what the person is suspended for or what the allegations amount to. They have mounted a campaign of support for a reason that is nothing more than fantasy. I am sure that the truth will leak out once ever the formal process has ended. UNISON has specific rules relating to the conduct of its members and where allegations of a breach of these rules are made, it has a duty to investigate. UNISON employs staff who are trained and able to conduct these investigations. The decision as to wether the allegations are upheld is made by lay officials.

The time has come for members to take control of thier union. Yes  there has been industrial action but these have been grass roots level action and only belatedly received national backing, what we need is an NEC that leads and not follows. No more letting branches  fight alone.

Another old chestnut this one with a touch of the Brexit missive. All industrial action must be approved by the National Industrial Action Committee, having been first approved by the Regional Secretary concerned. There has been industrial action and it has been supported by the wider union and the Regions concerned. If they believe that there has been no industrial action, they must have been living in a bubble.

As I have explained many times before, all industrial action has to abide by legislation to provide protection to both members and the union. The hard-left faction keep ignoring this vitally important point. What they mean by “fighting alone” is that they want secondary action which is unlawful.

What is meant by “an NEC that leads not follows” is beyond me, as to its meaning, perhaps someone could explain it?

Most of the requests that I have seen cover the same territory, some in a slightly different way and many are obviously cut and paste from the same template. The template has probably been penned by the shadowy characters who associate themselves with unison action broad left, obviously fuelled by the SWP/Socialist party.

Having been declared as an outside organisation, unison action broad left are struggling to leave their fingerprints off the campaign, however the cracks are forming. You don’t have to be a forensic genius to to see this.

My advice to you reader, would be to support anyone other than the people that appear on the list. If you care about the union and everything it does, don’t give these people a bigger foothold on your union. They claim they do not want to take over the union; the evidence proves that they do.

Thanks for reading.

GI Jayne

 

 

 

Upstairs Downstairs

Well this certainly was a revelation; I had no idea that the majority of those NEC members who align themselves with the hard left faction, don’t even meet in the same room as the NEC. They choose to inhabit a room on one of the lower floors. Even though provision is made for them to join the NEC; they just choose not to. They claim to be showing solidarity with another member who has medical issues. It seems very odd that 15-20 of your NEC members don’t even engage at probably one of UNISON’s most important meetings. They are mic’d up to the chamber so they can take part and I am told that the start of the meeting usually involves a cacophony of noise and claims that the tech isn’t working, for the purpose of causing disruption.

It seems absurd that people who have been elected to represent members behave in this way; self segregating so they don’t have to take part fully with the NEC. UNISON members would do well to remember this in the forthcoming NEC elections. One would expect that a commitment to fully engage with the NEC would be mandatory if not an obligation.

There was a presentation on recruitment for the forthcoming Grovember initiative. The faction asked about servicing members who work for private contractors, suggesting that unison probably shouldn’t recruit them unless they are serviced by the centre. The response from Dave Pentis was that it would have been sorted if the review motion had been passed at National Delegate Conference. Hmmmm, wonder who was responsible for bringing that down?

A discussion followed on direct debit subscriptions, with a faction member claiming that a number of members don’t have bank accounts. This may be true, but you have to wonder how they get paid. It was clear that they were angling for direct cash collection, for reasons we can only speculate on.

Of course the NHS pay deal came up. As you will recall reader, I have reported on this previously and outlined the hard left faction’s plan to undermine it by making claims that UNISON mislead members on the deal. This is categorically untrue! This of course cannot be said of the RCN who recently issued an apology to their members for misleading them. The faction have tried to lump UNISON with the RCN on this matter, but the evidence and ballot result tell a very different story.

Using RCN issue to whip up trouble when our members made a democratic decision on the offer is unacceptable.

It was reported that the NHS pay deal had brought thousands of staff within the living wage threshold, which is a good news story. Not seen the hard left faction celebrating this achievement and I doubt we ever will.

Another previous reported issue was discussed, that of the Dave Prentis article in the New Statesman regarding UNISON’s Labour Link decision to support the IHRA definition on anti semitism. As you will all know, the definition has now been re-adopted by the Labour Party after much furore. The President made it clear that the business of Labour Link was not for discussion at the NEC as not all NEC members are levy payers or members of the Labour Party. The point was made that if people wanted to be part of the debate they should join the party.

Dave Prentis explained that he had written the article in the New Statesman in a personal capacity. He had been referred to as the General Secretary of UNISON because that’s who he is. A faction member said that they had not received a response to the letter they had written to Prentis on the article. It transpires that Prentis had responded on the 23rd August. Strangely enough, an apology from the faction member was not forthcoming. I not that the individual has put the response on the hard left factions facebook page. Of course they had neglected to to supply the full facts or offer an apology.

Dave Prentis pointed out that he had said nothing different than others had said. UNISON has adopted a policy on anti semitism not the IHRA. The IHRA definition was Labour policy in 2016 and it does not impinge on the work of the union with regards to Palestine. UNISON continues to work with trade unions in Palestine. UNISON’s policy is and has always bee a two state solution. He said go back to conference if you want to change it. He is proud of the fact that UNISON came out against anti semitism, it is blight of the party. We need a labour government and that is what we should be focusing on. The NEC had agreed at a previous meeting that anti semitism is racism and therefore they would denounce it. This was a unanimous decision.

The faction want to discuss the general Secretary election of 2016, particularly on the Certification Officer report. The president gave his commitment that the report would come to NEC, but all processes have not been completed and the matter can”t discussed until process is done. This is a matter that has troubled no one outside of the unison action camp. It is quite clear that they want the opportunity to bully and make accusations against staff and lay leaders. This for all intents and purposes is a dead issue. The world has moved on considerably and it certainly is not an issue that is of any importance to UNISON members, not that it ever was.

If you are having trouble sleeping, I suggest you look it up, it’s freely available online. Quite interesting that those who are named from the faction in the document don’t exactly come out smelling of roses. These observations will no doubt be ignored.

I have never understood why they are so keen to beat up our union and make claims that it is corrupt in some way; that certainly is not the case. Spending valuable time on this kind of incessant navel gazing is pointless and prevents the union from getting on with work that actually makes a difference. I suppose if you are self obsessed, you may not want to move the spotlight.

My contact told me that a lot of these arguments are brought up over and over again, and valuable time is wasted by this perpetual hate of our union. The hard left faction claim that UNISON is not a fighting union; apparently a number of branches taking industrial action were discussed at the meeting. Interesting to note that most of them were branches that don’t associate with the faction.

Sounds like NEC meeting are somewhat convoluted due to the constant time wasting of the hard left faction. Is this really what we want from our leadership? Remember! Unison action broad left is brought to you by the same people who created militant (now the Socialist party). We all know how that ended.

Thanks for reading.

Racism, the TUC and UNISON hate

The hard left faction continue to display racist material on their Facebook page (see unison action displays racist material). I have asked them a number of times why the offending post remains on their page; guess what? No response! I noticed that there was a spam posting on their Facebook page that has now been removed, so clearly the page is being moderated. This must remove any doubt that they support this racist posting. This is disgraceful and brings shame on UNISON and its members and is most likely a breach of UNISON’s rules.

The supporting of racism in any form is deplorable. This hard left faction make all sorts of claims including fighting fascism, but they are content for racist material to remain on their page, they are nothing but hypocrites.

This week saw the 150th anniversary of the TUC in Manchester, a celebration of the achievements of the trade union movement and an opportunity to set the future agenda. UNISON played a very active role in the proceedings with many activists taking to the rostrum in support of UNISON’s aims and values. Frances O’Grady sent a clear message to the Tory government that their time is up. It has been a very successful conference and a great showcase for the trade union movement.

You would think that unison action broad left would want to publicise the fact that UNISON were a major player in the proceedings, support activists, give some updates and inform people of UNISON’s influence wouldn’t you? Whoops! You would be wrong; looking at their feeds, it seems that they were more interested in posting about what Unite were up to. Now you have to ask yourself reader, why a faction that claims to be UNISON centric would prefer to put news items about Unite. Not only did they ignore UNISON at the TUC, they posted an FBU comment on Monday’s Panorama investigation into academies, even though UNISON had been part of the program and a key witness.

Why are the hard left faction not reporting on UNISON activity that is high profile and taking the fight to the public? I think reader you know the answer; the SWP/Socialist party backed faction don’t actually have any interest in the work of the wider union. They do not support the aims and objectives of UNISON and they certainly do not support its members.

The hard left faction are now making claims of inappropriate disciplinary action being taken by the union against their people for simply speaking out against UNISON policy. Well this reporter is certain that there must be more to this than they are saying. If disciplinary action was taken against individuals speaking against anyone speaking against union policy, they would all be on a rule I investigation.

They love a self made martyr and any opportunity to attack the union and its leadership. I have no doubt that we will see the usual conspiracy theory based campaigning ratchet up in the near future. I hope you like me, will be keeping a close eye on this one.

As always, thanks for reading.

Unison action allows racist material

The hard left faction are content to have racist anti-semitic material on their facebook page. I have provided them with a screen shot of the offensive material and yet it remains on their page some 24 hours later. The offending material was posted on Thursday 6th September 2018 at 14:37. The individual posting the image calling for people copy the image, a hashtag and share it. He also posted the comment “we will not let the right stop us from opposing what israel is doing”.

The image is of one of the posters place on London bus shelter’s which the words “Israel is a racist endeavour”. These posters were place illegally and caused great offence to the Jewish community. The activity Is being investigated by the police. The posters were also condemned by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.

This sort of behaviour is what is at the root of the ant-semitism crisis in the Labour Party. And unfortunately, the hard left faction are content to be complicit in this sort of behaviour. Having failed to give a statement on their position on the IHRA definition, it is clear that they are part of the problem.

The sharing of racist material will undoubtably be in contravention of employer’s codes of conduct and they seem oblivious to that fact. They have shown a lack of leadership in allowing the post to remain on their page; failing to remove it breaching the most basic of moderation protocols. They cannot claim to not have seen it as there has been activity on their Facebook and Twitter feeds.

I am sure that the majority of UNISON members would also condemn this sort of behaviour.

Thanks for reading.

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