Men fight and lose the battle, and the thing that they fought for comes about in spite of their defeat, and when it comes turns out not to be what they meant, and other men have to fight for what they meant under another name. (William Morris - A Dream of John Ball)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

UNISON, the General Secretary election and the Certification Officer - watch that space...

Regular readers of this blog (Sid and Doris White-Elephant) who are perplexed about the recent postings to do with something called the Labour Party are no doubt waiting for the report from the Certification Officer hearing concerning complaints made about the (now not so) recent election for UNISON General Secretary (in connection with which I should make clear that I make no allegations against the successful candidate).

While we await that decision, those interested in such matters can no doubt entertain yourselves by remembering how much you read here first. On Friday 16 October 2015 I brought you the news that I had been advised, by the Returning Officer in the election that the campaign of the incumbent candidate were wrongly advising their supporters as to what was and was not permissible in campaigning. Later that same day (on which, as I now know there had been communication between the Returning Officer and the Union) I noticed and reported that the campaign in support of the incumbent candidate had amended the information which (the Returning Officer had told me) was incorrect.

I did not then know all I now know about the flurry of communication, between the campaign team in question, the Union and the Returning Officer over the following days, which led to the issuing of revised guidance on the following Wednesday 21 October on which I also commented on this blog. This was the change of heart (or not if you believe UNISON’s submissions to the Certification Officer) which bequeathed us the novelty of the “hundred words” which branches can use to explain the reasons for their nominations in internal UNISON elections (something which, according to UNISON’s submissions to the Certification Officer, had always been permitted…)

What I did not know then, but became aware of (and posted on this blog) six weeks later, was that on the same day that guidance was issued, a staff meeting at UNISON’s Greater London Regional Office was (to borrow from the Union’s own submission to the Certification Officer) “hijacked” and turned into a campaign meeting, on UNISON premises and in work time for the staff in attendance, for the same campaign who had just secured a change of heart from the Union and Returning Officer. There was a great deal that I did not know then which I do know now because of the evidence which came out in the hearings before the Certification Officer.

Whatever the decision of the Assistant Certification Officer, I will publish much more information here in the near future. For now I suggest that those eager for information keep an eye on the website where that decision will be published.

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