Union democracy

Profiting from the movement

Submitted by Matthew on 25 October, 2017 - 3:45 Author: Will Sefton

A report by the Certification Officer (a government body responsible for the conduct of trade unions) has shown Ian Lavery, the chair of the Labour Party, received £165,000 from the Northumberland area National Union of Mineworkers which had just 10 members, four years ago, before he entered Parliament in 2010. This makes sadly familiar reading.

Letter: Courts not answer to undemocratic unions

Submitted by Matthew on 26 April, 2017 - 12:18 Author: Daniel Randall

Anyone who has had to confront the bureaucratic officialdom of any trade union will have some sympathy with the GMB activist who wrote in Solidarity of "unelected, barely elected and crookedly elected bureaucrats".

Their letter promotes the new "GMB Grassroots Left" network; prominently involved is Keith Henderson, a former GMB official who has twice taken his former union, and employer to court.

Dodgy general secretary election?

Submitted by Matthew on 12 April, 2017 - 11:58

On Friday 17 March, an Employment Appeal Tribunal judge overturned the decision of the Certification Officer to reject a complaint against the GMB bureaucracy, brought by GMB member Keith Henderson.

Keith had complained that a misinterpretation and misapplication of the rules had prevented him or any other rank-and-file member from standing in the 2015 GMB General Secretary election. Among other things he claimed by-law 13 had been misinterpreted and misapplied to prevent potential nominees from contacting branches to seek nomination.

Ian Allinson — an inconsistent critic

Submitted by Matthew on 15 February, 2017 - 11:42 Author: Dale Street

Ian Allinson is standing as “an experienced workplace activist”, “the grassroots socialist candidate”, and “the only candidate who knows first-hand the experiences and frustrations of our members”. By contrast, writes Allinson, Len McCluskey and Gerard Coyne have both been “been paid officials of Unite for many years.” McCluskey stands for “more of the same” and Coyne stands for “turning the clock back”.

Industrial news in brief

Submitted by AWL on 12 October, 2016 - 2:26 Author: Gemma Short, Ollie Moore,Simon Nelson and Peggy Carter

Workers at the Ritzy Picturehouse cinema in Brixton struck on Friday 7 October, and will strike again on Saturday 15 October. The Ritzy cinema was completely shut down by the strike, and films due to be shown as part of the London Film Festival moved to other venues.

Industrial news in brief

Submitted by AWL on 24 February, 2016 - 10:58 Author: Ruth Cashman, Lambeth Unison (personal capacity), Peggy Carter and Ollie Moore

As the returning officer report about the Unison general secretary election is published, more leaks have shown the level of corruption inside Unison.

Prentis was re-elected general secretary of Unison on a tiny turn-out of 9.8%, an incredibly diminished vote, and with allegations of union staff campaigning for him against the rules of the union. A report by the returning officer report was due out on 10 January, but was published five weeks late.

Industrial news in brief

Submitted by Matthew on 6 January, 2016 - 12:27 Author: Gemma Short, Peggy Carter, Tim Cooper and Ollie Moore

Cleaning and security workers on London’s Docklands Light Railway (DLR) won a big victory before Christmas, settling a long-running dispute over terms and conditions for a deal that represents a 75p/hour pay increase, backdated to April 2015.

The workers, employed by outsourced subcontractor Interserve, struck several times throughout 2015. An RMT statement called the deal “a massive breakthrough”, which “gives some much-needed Christmas cheer to a group of London transport workers who have fought long and hard for pay justice.”

Unite prepares ground for unlawful action

Submitted by Matthew on 15 July, 2015 - 1:02

Unite the union held its rules conference in Brighton this week.

About 500 delegates debated motions from sectors, branches, equalities committees and regions. 

Two key and contested debates were about the election of union officials and the union’s political structures and affiliation to the Labour Party. 

Unite members do not elect any paid officials other then the General Secretary. There were many different motions calling for the election of different types of officers by different constituencies. These motions all fell and the status quo prevailed.