Saturday, March 06, 2010

Unison's suburban Sigurimi

In developments which, on the face of it, have no obvious justification other than a pathological fear and hatred of dissent, our officials have sought to take over the administration of Unison branches which have been functioning perfectly well in every respect (except that their members showed a worrying tendency to elect branch officers whose political views did not meet with approval in Congress House or Mabledon Place).
In unannounced visits uninvited officials arrived at Unison branch offices in Bromley and Woolwich claiming the authority of the national Union to usurp the role of elected branch officials who have faced no criticism and done no wrong. As a mere member of our National Executive Council I had no notice of this action and my requests today for an explanation have gone unanswered.
Among the bizarre aspects of this episode (about which I shall blog in a considered way when I am less angry) is the fact that action was not taken in respect of these branches whilst they were being served by lay activists who faced disciplinary action over the production of a contested leaflet at Unison's 2007 Conference.
It is only now that the four activists concerned have been banned from holding office for periods ranging upwards from two years that steps are apparently being taken to put branches under Regional supervision.
This makes no sense unless the purpose of the exercise is simply to change the politics of the leadership of the branches concerned.
The members who have been banned from holding office aren't holding office any more - the other officers of the branches have faced no charges and done nothing wrong (unless it is now wrong in Unison to elect the "wrong" people or show loyalty to fellow trade unionists!)
This breaks so many of the Rules of our Union that I hardly know where to begin. So I'll come back to this when I've calmed down...

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