Tuesday 1 December 2015

'Damning evidence’ of abuse of union resources by paid officials in Unison’s general secretary election in fight against Barnet UNISON challenger

A damning audiotape has emerged that provides evidence of senior officials of Britain’s biggest public service union, Unison, acting in blatant breach of the union’s rules to secure general secretary Dave Prentis’ re-election.

The audio file can be downloaded online here  

Earlier today all Unison general secretary candidates were copied into an email complaint to the Electoral Reform. The general secretary election closes this Friday (4 December).

The Anonymous Blog reports that it is a recording of: “a briefing for Regional Organisers at UNISON’s Greater London Regional Office which took place at Congress House in London. Those attending were paid UNISON staff, attending in the time for which they were paid by the Union (at 2pm on Wednesday 21 October)”

The audio recording features heavily the voice of Unison’s London regional secretary, Linda Perks, who can be heard repeatedly thanking paid union officials under her management for their work in securing branch nominations for the three-term incumbent Dave Prentis.

At one point, Ms Perks says that ‘Dave’ [presumably Mr Prentis] wishes to convey his personal thanks, adding ‘Dave is very very grateful.’

The recording includes derogatory references to Mr Prentis’ three opponents (Roger Bannister, John Burgess and Heather Wakefield) and their supporters along with a detailed discussion of what London regional officials can do to bolster the Prentis campaign in the days running up to the start of the postal ballot on 9 November. There is also an explicit warning not to get ‘caught out’, while mention of the union’s election rules provokes widespread laughter.

The use of full-time officer resources by any candidate in any Unison election is a serious breach of electoral rules and regulations, and potentially unlawful.

John Burgess, one of the four standing for Unison general secretary, has heard the tape and said:

‘I quickly recognised voices and felt angry that some of our union’s senior officers could behave in such a disgraceful way. It was really infuriating to hear them repeat that they know that they are breaching UNISON rules, but laughing about it. This recording reveals a dangerous and worrying systemic contempt for the rules of our union.

I am calling for an immediate independent investigation led by a highly credible labour movement figure as it appears this malpractice could go to the very top of Unison. I also want to call upon those who value union democracy to come forward if you have any other evidence of this sort of behaviour. There must be no cover up.’

You can find the above statement on out Campaign Blog below.

Jon Rogers has also posted the following story:

Worrying news of electoral malpractice - let's hope this is addressed appropriately!

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