Thursday, December 17, 2015

Not the end of the road

Whilst UNISON has not received the report of the Returning Officer in the General Secretary election, as investigations are still underway (and being assisted with unanticipated interventions from unexpected quarters), the Scrutineer has been able to report and therefore Dave Prentis has been declared victor with 49.4% of the vote as announced on the UNISON website. 

Congratulations are due to Dave, who will I am sure share my concern at the decline in turnout in the election, which has fallen below 10%.

I can't imagine what the Scrutineer and the Returning Officer must be saying to each other just now having arrived at such different conclusions about the same election (particularly since they are the same person). Roger Bannister, one of the unsuccessful candidates has announced a legal challenge to the election. 

We can all be concerned about the rights and wrongs of what has gone on in the election - but what stands out so starkly, at a time when our movement faces unprecedented attacks, is that nine in ten UNISON members didn't vote for any of the four candidates.

Plainly we need a dramatic change of approach if we are to revivify our trade union. We need to engage members by empowering lay activists and abandoning the culture of deference to paid staff which has plagued the Greater London Regional Office in particular.

Our movement is in peril. 

We are all challenged to find a way forward.



Anonymous said...

What no comment on the position you took on the candidate and the attempt by Roger to have one anti Prentis candidate?

Glenn Kelly

Anonymous said...

I take it you saw the absolutely astonishing message issued today from London Region? My jaw dropped even more than it did when I heard the recording. This is truly desperate stuff. I quote below in full with my annotations in [square brackets]:


Dear Colleague

As you know a number of serious allegations have been made against our union in London.

The complaints are being investigated.

Whilst it is not our practice to comment on an ongoing investigation on this occasion we believe there is one aspect that warrants public disclosure. [Funnily enough it's one tiny aspect that appears to help Region's position...] This can be done without compromising the rights of those involved in this matter.

The complaint presented by Jon Rogers relies heavily on an anonymous recording. Given the seriousness of this tape the union commissioned an independent forensic report of the recording. The Presidential Team and the Trustees of the union now have the full report from the Audio Forensic Service. [But they're not going to release the full report, just one detail...]

The forensic analysis was undertaken by an accredited audio specialist and the company is used by the High Court for audio evidence.

The report clearly states that “the probability of tampering is exceptionally high”. On a scale of 1 (low) to 5 (high), the Independent Expert rates the tape as a 5/5. [But what does 'tampering' mean? Is Unison's defence of that recording seriously going to be that it is faked in some way? Has Cassetteboy spliced together a different recording of all those recognisable Regional voices to make them say things which are entirely different? Does anyone think that is remotely credible?! I literally can't believe it if that's the line they're going to pursue as their defence.]

The results have been passed to the Investigating Officer and the ERS and as the Presidential Team and Trustees we are also asking for a formal investigation of the providence of the recording. [Because that's the real issue here.]

Please share as appropriate. [I am doing so now - it's only 'appropriate' to share this with notes like this scattered throughout it expressing genuine astonishment that this is what they're saying!]


[Quoted message ends]

I began this election process with a completely open mind about who was best to vote for (and personally could have gone for anyone but Roger, and ultimately went for Heather) but am now utterly appalled at all I've seen and heard during and after it, and I think this message is the most astounding yet.

Anonymous said...

It's worse. Prentis elected on just under 50% of the vote. And the turnout was about 10%? So only about 5% of members voted for him. While I am opposed to the current anti TU legislation under consideration, I note that this would fail the proposed tests for a vote for strike action. Strange that none of the establishment have commented on this so far. Unless it suits them that Prentis remains in charge?:@

Anonymous said...

Can somebody please explain who those Trustees are and what their role is in all of this?