Tuesday, February 23, 2016
You read it here first...
Although this may not start a trend it is perfectly proper that my earlier apology to our General Secretary should be republished at his discretion.
As I said on 13 January, “I accept fully that Mr Prentis has "clean hands" in relation to the meeting of Unison staff in the Greater London Region which took place on 21 October 2015. I wish to make clear that I have no grounds to believe that Mr Prentis sanctioned or condoned any misuse of Unison staff resources at that meeting.” I stand by that extract from the apology as I stand by the whole.
We can now also read of that meeting in the report of the Returning Officer, also published by UNISON on our website. This states (in part) that;
“83 complaints were received regarding staff in the Greater London Region, specifically that UNISON staff during working time were undertaking campaigning activities. The basis of all these complaints was a recording and transcript of a meeting of UNISON staff that took place at the Greater London UNISON offices at 2pm on 21st October 2015.
Due to the potential implications for the UNISON staff who are the subject of this complaint these complaints have been investigated in accordance with the union’s internal employee policies and procedures. The complaints are, as at the date of this report, the subject of an ongoing investigation by the union. This investigation has involved the interviewing of complainants and UNISON staff by Roger McKenzie, Assistant General Secretary. Mr McKenzie will be making his report on this matter to the union in due course. We met with Mr McKenzie and discussed these complaints and his investigation. Mr McKenzie has confirmed that the fact that the meeting took place as detailed in the complaints is not in dispute. He also confirmed that during the course of his investigations, that have included the offer of meetings with representatives of all branches in the Greater London Region, he has not been presented with any further complaints relating to UNISON staff in or outside of Greater London nor has he received any evidence that any of the alleged activities were undertaken at the request or to the knowledge of Dave Prentis.”
As I said on the 13 January; “I recognise that Unison’s interests are best served by everyone giving their full support to the investigation currently being undertaken by Roger Mackenzie, Unison’s Assistant General Secretary into the circumstances surrounding the 21 October meeting.”
Pending the outcome of that investigation I shall continue to refrain from public comment on the matters under investigation, which is all the more important now that UNISON has published confirmation that “the fact that the meeting took place as detailed in the complaints is not in dispute.”
As a member of the National Executive Council (NEC) I shall comment separately on other matters raised by the report of the Returning Officer as appropriate – and, as I have already pointed out, I note that the Returning Officer has found no “evidence that suggests that any candidates were directly involved in, or had knowledge of any of the activities that were the subject of the complaints.”
I understand that my apology to Mr Prentis will also be published in UNISON Focus and am grateful to have been given notice of this.
UNISON faces numerous challenges, and these include how to respond to some of the issues raised by the Returning Officer’s report. Anything which focuses our minds on how to respond to these challenges is to be welcomed.