So, what news from the recent NEC meeting? The hard-left faction now forced to take part in NEC meetings by sitting in the NEC meeting room, were out in force. Hot topics were the selection of NEC motions, rule amendments and the recent faux outrage due to the Labour Link decision to nominate Keir Starmer for Labour leader.
I was told that not of the motions up for discussion were particularly controversial. There was a motion that makes equality and race training mandatory on all reps training courses. You would think this was a good thing that would receive unanimous support! For some reason known only to themselves, the hard-left faction did not support the motion. Apparently, it caused over a 30-minute debate. Some minor amendments were made.
The motion on climate change caused some debate as the hard-left faction wanted to add a clause calling for industrial action in support of the campaign. It was pointed out to them that this would likely not be possible because it was outside the parameters of lawful industrial action at this time. It was pointed out that this may be possible sometime in the future. Of course, the hard-left faction was not accepting of this. They never consider the consequences of their proposals and seem content to put the union in jeopardy.
The below was proposed which in my opinion is straight forward and reasonable. Not something that the hard-left faction could support. Several smoke screens were thrown up about very hypothetical situations that were never likely to happen. It is obvious that the hard-left faction would not want to support this, as many of them belong to more than one trade union. This explains why they are so ready to make unfounded criticism of UNISON. Apparently, another long debate followed: The intention of the rule change is to protect our membership, their interests and their data from competitor unions and to ensure that those holding office in our union share our aims and objectives.
“Members of UNISON who are members of another union, shall not be entitled to stand for election or hold any office under these Rules where, at any time, they promote, support, or undertake organisation or recruitment activities for or on behalf of that other union; and undertake any activity for or on behalf of that other union which is detrimental to the interests of UNISON.”
I am told that the debate on the rule change regarding the suspension of activists became quite heated. The hard-left faction was more interested in how the rule change mat affect them, rather than protecting vulnerable members. A comment was made by an NEC member about the “comrade Delta” handling of allegations of rape by a senior SWP official, noting that SWP members were on the NEC. This apparently now forms the basis of a complaint by an SWP member on the NEC. More information about the case here: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/mar/09/socialist-workers-party-rape-kangaroo-court
“In existing rule C 7.4.2 after “financial irregularities” insert “or where it is necessary to protect other UNISON members”
The NEC rational for the change is reasonable, with the interests of members at its core. “Currently members can only be suspended for 60 days unless it is a case of financial irregularities. This can often mean that members return to their roles in the union while the investigation is still underway. In cases where other members are potentially being put at risk, it causes us difficulties in protecting those members”.
I am sure that the hard-left faction will do everything in its power to talk down the rule change at conference. Members should be advised that this is more about their self-interest than the protection of members.
That Labour Link Decision
Those of you that have seen the furor over UNISON’s decision to support Keir Starmer for Labour leader, will be aware of the petition that was created by a socialist party member calling for a debate on the NEC over the decision.
About 600 people had signed the petition in support of the proposal. Not an insignificant amount of the populous you would say. I wish I had been at the meeting to see the faces of the hard-left faction when the General Secretary referred to the demographics of the signatories. The most damning fact was that most of the signatories were not even UNISON members… Of those that were; only a small proportion of them were Labour Link levy payers. So much for the outrage of UNISON members over the decision. Prentis also informed the NEC that membership has risen after the announcement. No response was forthcoming from the hard-left faction; what a surprise! I do wish I could have been there as I don’t think I would have been able to contain my laughter.
There was the inevitable debate regarding the decision and the chair of Labour Link reminded the NEC of the rules relating to its operation. There were howls of it being anti-democratic until they were reminded that it was a representative democracy.
The glaringly obvious elephant in the room is that Labour Party members will be able to vote for whomever they choose.
Readers may have seen the comments by a low paid member as to why they have left the NEC after only 2 meetings. Claims have been made that do not accurately reflect the facts. I have no wish to dwell on this individual, as they clearly have mental health issues and I wish them well in overcoming them.
What I am deeply concerned about is the reaction from the hard-left faction who are using this individual for their own political aims. This is clearly exploitation and abandonment. You must ask yourself why they did not support and nurture the person, encourage and assist them to continue? It’s not the first time and I doubt it will be the last.
Yours truly has also been cited as a contributor to the decision of the person to stand down. I don’t sit on the NEC, nor do I have any influence over the content of its debates. If the person feels some comfort in blaming me, then I am OK with that if it helps them.
There have also been two other low paid seat resignations on the NEC. This is due to the individuals being made redundant. I am reliably informed that one of the almost well know members of the hard-left faction saw fit to interfere with one of the resignations by turning grass. This despicable behavior has been noticed and the impact it has had registered. So much for solidarity sister?
Thanks for reading, until next time.