Unite Back Corbyn

Unite have decided to back Jeremy Corbyn for Labour leader. This partly redeems the union from their disgraceful failure in 2007 to back John McDonnell (or indeed anyone) against the unelectable Gordon Brown. (Incidentally it also means dearunite.com and the union agree for once). 

John McDonnell MP - the best leader Labour never had
Had they backed McDonnell in 2007, and so stopped Brown being appointed unopposed, McDonnell may not have won but his name would be familiar to the MPs, public and the party, ready for the inevitable 2010 leadership contest.  Instead, in 2010, the only credible remotely Left candidate was the unelectable Ed Milliband.

One of the few good things Milliband did was to make the election of leader a democratic process.  Now members votes count equally with MPs.  Before that, one MP's vote was worth 1,230 ordinary members' or trade union members' votes (because the vote power was split evenly 3 ways between 262 MPs, 122,806 party members and 199,671 trade union members). Not to mention that each MP got another vote as as a Labour party member and another as a trade union member.

Vote Corbyn
It seems  the Right wing of the Labour Party thought that this new-fangled democracy was safe enough because they had inserted an impossibly high hurdle, so as to exclude the Left:  Candidates had to get 15% of the MPs to nominate them in order to appear on the ballot paper.  No Marxist candidate could get 35 MPs, each on £1/4 million a year (£67K salary plus around £200K in claimable expenses, free central London parking, subsidised meals, £56K golden goodbye, gold plated pension, etc... etc...).

Fortunately many of these grossly overpaid Labour MPs are out of touch with ordinary Party and trade union members and may have underestimated them.   Those on the far Right of the party like Frank Field who must surely have nominated Corbyn for a laugh have actually shot themselves in the foot.  He just might win...

World's top 26 Economists back Syriza

In an essay published on Friday morning in the Financial Times, 26 of the world’s most renowned economic minds proclaimed their solidarity with Syriza, Greece’s ruling anti-austerity party.

The article’s authors—a group that includes Joseph Stiglitz and Thomas Piketty —summarized their message as a “plea for economic sanity and humanity.”

Arguing that the fate of the European Union depends on the ability of Greece and its creditor institutions to compromise, they demanded that the European Union provide “forbearance and finance to promote structural reform and financial recovery,” and that Greece demonstrate “credible commitment” to reform and playing “a positive role in the EU.”
http://inthesetimes.com/article/18020/joseph-stiglitz-thomas-piketty-greece-syriza-austerity

Unite Complaint Saga Latest



From: david@dearunite.com [mailto:david@dearunite.com]
Sent: 01 July 2015 10:14
To: 'Murray, Andrew D. Unite Chief of Staff'
Subject: RE: complaints about Ewing, Malone, Smith


Dear Andrew,

Further to my complaint against BASSA ex-Chair Lizanne Malone of 29/6/15
"Rule 27.1.2 Being a party to any fraud on the Union or any misappropriation or misuse of its funds or property.
Ms Malone continued to claim expenses from the union for the period 1 May 2014 to about 15 December 2014 which is either fraud, misappropriation or misuse of union funds."

 I attach further detail for consideration by the Unite Executive.  Specifically Ms Malone made three expense claims during the period when she was not entitled to be a member of our union's Executive.  You kindly sent me the expense claims below on 27/1/15 and, for your assistance, I append them:



Therefore the total amount of Unite funds which I believe has been defrauded, misappropriated or misused, relating to this complaint, is £1,351.60. There may be other claims that I am not aware of.

Points to note:
1) There can be no doubt that Ms Malone was not eligible to hold office on the Executive for this period.  This has been tested in court. 
2) Ms Malone would have been aware, at least by the time of the second claim, that she may not be entitled to sit on the Executive -  as you know I first told you this on 16/6/14.  In any case it cannot be a defence to a breach of rule that you 'did not think you were breaching that rule'. 
3) I am not aware that Ms Malone has refunded these monies to the union,  I assume she has not.  She certainly should but in any case, as a point of principle a burglar returning stolen goods after being caught out does not entitle them not to be charged with the crime. 

As Ms Malone herself wrote (in her misconceived complaint against me) "Given the serious nature I would expect an investigation into this matter to commence within 7 days".  I submit that this matter is significantly more serious than her complaint, which amounted mostly to a claim that I am attempting to discredit her.  It must surely be in her interest as well as yours and mine to clear up this lost £1,351 as soon as possible, otherwise she discredits herself.

Therefore I look forward to hearing from you within 7 days.

David

Unite Goes Messenger Hunting

Unite Chief of Staff Murray
Rather than investigate the proven breaches of union rules by Los Angeles Liz illegally staying on the Executive , by her branch making illegal nominations to the Executive and the whitewash Prof Ewing report into it all, last week the Unite Executive decided instead to investigate member David Beaumont.

 

David, jointly with Executive candidate Lesley Mansell and with the help of many BASSA branch members, had made the initial complaint which brought the illegal activity to light.

 

Andrew Murray, McCluskey's chief of staff, wielded the lead piping on 12th June:

David wrote back:

"Dear Andrew

I refer to your letter dated 12th June 2015 commencing an investigation against me and threatening disciplinary proceedings against me under rule 27 1.5, which I received today.

I have had no previous notice of this. I have not seen or heard any complaints made against me. The Executive Council decision was taken without any consultation with me or notice to me. At no time have I been asked to respond to any complaints. In short the decision is peremptory.

Please immediately forward to me:

1) Copies of all complaints made against me.

2) The minutes of the Executive council meeting where this decision was made.

3) A copy of the decision itself and any supporting materials provided to the Executive Council in the making of that decision.

4) All the EC guidance you rely on, and/or were considered by the Executive Council and/or you intend to use against me. It is not good enough to say that 'you know I am familiar with the Unite rule book'.

David"

Colonel Murray has 'previous' on threatening members, having written to Executive candidate Lesley Mansell  back in July 2014:

"To be clear, I do not wish to initiate disciplinary action against you, nor to refer this matter to the Executive Council under rule, particularly given your distinguished history in the movement. However, I am required to protect the integrity of our procedures, which your false allegations against myself have clearly compromised. I would therefore be grateful if you could send me an acknowledgement of your mistake in respect of the three statements listed above, and a commitment not to repeat such false allegations to the Election Commissioner or anyone else in future."

Lesley refused to apologise and the Certification Officer subsequently found in her favour.

LA Malone
BASSA Secretary Smith
David finally received sight of the complaints on 26th June. The complaints dated from 26th May and were from BASSA ex-chair Lizanne Malone , BASSA secretary Adrian Smith and current BASSA chair Sean Beatty. The complaints were personal and had not been endorsed by a BASSA branch meeting.

David commented "It's embarrassing to be part of a union where the bureaucracy behave like this.  How can they honestly confront the worst employers who treat their staff the same way?"


He responded by trying to get the union to investigate the rule breakers, rather than the messengers. Unlike the union bureaucracy, he is happy to make the complaints in public rather than in secret:


"Dear Andrew

Please find below complaints against members of my union. I trust they will be investigated in the same way and timescale as complaints made against me.

Complaint against member Keith Ewing, Unite Election Commissioner.
 

I assume Prof Ewing is a member of Unite, if not please let me know and I will withdraw this complaint. Assuming he is a member, I note that he is not an employee of the union and therefore does not obtain the immunity afforded to you by rule 28.1.

Rule 27.1.1 Acting in any way contrary to the rules or any duty or obligation imposed on that member by or pursuant to these rules whether in his/her capacity as a member, a holder of a lay office or a representative of the Union.
Prof Ewing by his own admission failed to investigate BASSA branch:
 "I did not investigate further whether 7 days’ notice was given to members, whether nominations appeared on the agenda, or whether there was a request for endorsement or a vote on the nominations. This is because on the basis of the investigations already conducted (including in particular my conversation with the branch secretary), it was not necessary to do so for the purpose of dealing with this complaint."
It was subsequently found at the Certification Office that the branch had not complied with these basic requirements of rule. Prof Ewing clearly had an obligation and duty under rule 16.28 to investigate the complaint against BASSA branch. By his own admission he failed to do so. 


Rule 27.1.3 Knowingly, recklessly or in bad faith providing the Union with false or misleading information relating to a member or any other aspect of the Union’s activities. Prof Ewing came to the wrong conclusion in his report on the issue of invalid nominations by the BASSA branch in the Executive Elections. This is evidenced by the Certification Office ruling 15th May 2015. As per the complaint above, Prof Ewing knowingly did not investigate the issues which BASSA branch was subsequently found guilty of, despite them being brought to his attention by candidate Lesley Mansell. Therefore I believe his report to the union was false or misleading relating to BASSA branch's activities. If am wrong that Mr Ewing knowingly provided a false or misleading report than I maintain that he was reckless in providing it without proper investigation of the complaints made by Lesley Mansell.

Rule 27.1.5 Bringing about injury to or discredit upon the Union or any member of the Union.
By his breaches above I believe Prof Ewing resulted in the union losing a case at the Certification Office which was then publicly reported in Private Eye magazine, which brought discredit and injury upon the union.


Complaint against member Lizanne Malone, ex-chair BASSA branch.

Rule 27.1.1 Acting in any way contrary to the rules or any duty or obligation imposed on that member by or pursuant to these rules whether in his/her capacity as a member, a holder of a lay office or a representative of the Union.  
a) Ms Malone held office on our union's executive illegally from about 1 May 2014 to about 15 December 2014 in breach of rule 6.2. See the Certification Office ruling 15/5/15 to this effect.

b) According to the Certification Officer ruling of 15/5/15 the BASSA branch meeting of 13 January 2014 to nominate candidates to the union's executive was not properly convened in breach of rule 16.8. The branch did not give notice that nominations would be included in the business of that meeting. The branch breached rule 16.8 of the union rules when the BASSA branch convened a nomination meeting without having given correct notice of that meeting. As branch chair at the time Ms Malone is responsible for the actions that gave rise to those breaches.



Rule 27.1.2 Being a party to any fraud on the Union or any misappropriation or misuse of its funds or property.
Ms Malone continued to claim expenses from the union for the period 1 May 2014 to about 15 December 2014 which is, I believe, either fraud, misappropriation or misuse of union funds.

Rule 27.1.3 Knowingly, recklessly or in bad faith providing the Union with false or misleading information relating to a member or any other aspect of the Union’s activities.
Ms Malone failed to tell the union she was ineligible to hold office on the executive for the period from about 1 May 2014 to about 15 December 2014. Therefore by omission I believe she knowingly, recklessly or in bad faith provided the union with false or misleading information.

Rule 27.1.5 Bringing about injury to or discredit upon the Union or any member of the Union.
By her breaches above Ms Malone resulted in the union losing a case at the Certification Office which was then publicly reported in Private Eye magazine edition 1395 June 2015, which brought discredit and injury upon the union.


Complaint against member Adrian Smith, secretary BASSA Branch. 

Rule 27.1.1 Acting in any way contrary to the rules or any duty or obligation imposed on that member by or pursuant to these rules whether in his/her capacity as a member, a holder of a lay office or a representative of the Union.
According to the Certification Officer ruling of 15/5/15 the BASSA branch meeting of 13 January 2014 to nominate candidates to the union's executive was not properly convened in breach of rule 16.8. The branch did not give notice that nominations would be included in the business of that meeting. The branch breached rule 16.8 of the union rules when the BASSA branch convened a nomination meeting without having given correct notice of that meeting. As branch secretary it is Mr Smith's actions that gave rise to those breaches.

Rule 27.1.3 Knowingly, recklessly or in bad faith providing the Union with false or misleading information relating to a member or any other aspect of the Union’s activities.
Mr Smith in his witness statement at the Certification Office hearing stated that "No mention is made of the nomination process in the agenda as this is not necessary under the Rules." This statement is untrue and incorrect. It is I believe false and misleading. The statement was provided to the union by Mr Smith and used by the union at the hearing. Mr Smith made it knowingly. He repeated it as a witness at the hearing and under cross examination. If I am wrong that it was made knowingly then it is surely reckless for a Branch Secretary to wrongly pronounce on the rules of the union relating to his branch's conduct.


Rule 27.1.5 Bringing about injury to or discredit upon the Union or any member of the Union. By his breaches above Mr Smith resulted in the union losing a case at the Certification Office which was then publicly reported in Private Eye magazine edition 1395 June 2015, which brought discredit and injury upon the union.

Please confirm receipt of these complaints and keep me updated with their progress.

David"


LA Malone is clearly on first name terms with 'Lenny' McCluskey, see this extract from her complaint:




Unite Election Commissioner Ewing
Meanwhile the hunt for the £1/2 million in BASSA branch 'sundries' continues, as well as for other huge amounts of expenditure by the branch. 

A new Certification Office public hearing is set for 29th July.


 

Vote for Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn MP
You can register as a Labour Party Supporter here and get a vote in the leadership election (and, if you live in London, for the mayoral candidate).

You don't have to join the Labour Party.

Cost is £3 (don't pay more). Register before 12pm 12th August 2015.

Jeremy Corbyn is the only left (not Bliarite and/or New Labour) candidate.

View his website www.jeremycorbyn.org.uk

Sadly the only half decent left candidate for London Mayor is Dianne Abbott  www.dianeabbott.org.uk

Jeremy Corbyn's impeccable voting record as an MP is available here.

Here are all the candidates full voting records (click on their name) with an example of how careerist they are:

Leader
Andy Burnham eg Voted very strongly for the Iraq war
Jeremy Corbyn eg Voted very strongly against the Iraq war
Yvette Cooper eg Voted very strongly for the Iraq war
Liz Kendall eg Voted strongly for requiring the mass retention of information about communications

Deputy
Stella Creasy eg Voted strongly for requiring the mass retention of information about communications
Ben Bradshaw eg Voted very strongly for the Iraq war
Tom Watson eg Voted very strongly for the Iraq war

Angela Eagle eg Voted very strongly for the Iraq war
Caroline Flint eg Voted very strongly for the Iraq war

London Mayor


Diane Abbott eg Voted very strongly against the Iraq war
Tessa Jowell eg Voted very strongly for the Iraq war
Sadiq Khan eg Voted very strongly against an investigation into the Iraq war  
David Lammy eg Voted very strongly for the Iraq war
Gareth Thomas  eg Voted very strongly for the Iraq war
Christian Wolmar (not an MP)


You can check any MP's voting record at www.theyworkforyou.com.

Professor Cludeau



If you suspected that Unite's paid election commissioner's report into complaints of invalid nominations in the 2014 Executive elections was a complete whitewash, you will only be confirmed in that belief by this week's Trade Union Certification Officer ruling.
 

Just after the election, Grass Root Left's candidate Lesley Mansell submitted a complaint to the Election Commissioner, Professor Ewing, saying that at least one branch, BASSA, had made 7 invalid nominations at its meeting on 12th January 2014. Funnily enough all their nominations had been for the Len McCluskey supporting candidates of 'United Left'.

Lesley's complaint was that the branch had:

  • Changed the date of the meeting,
  • Not informed members that nominations would be made on the new date,
  • Not put 'nominations' on the agenda and
  • Not asked members to confirm, object to or suggest other nominations than the United Left ones chosen by the small branch committee.
      BASSA branch has about 9,000 members. Prof Ewing rejected the complaints after a brief and shortened investigation:


      Prof Ewing.   Glasses as a hat.
      "I did not investigate further whether 7 days’ notice was given to members, whether nominations appeared on the agenda, or whether there was a request for endorsement or a vote on the nominations.   This is because on the basis of the investigations already conducted (including in particular my conversation with the branch secretary), it was not necessary to do so for the purpose of dealing with this complaint."



      There is no record or even summary of Ewing's chat with the branch secretary and none was made available to Lesley.

      However you don't need to be a professor to see that 'nominations' does not appear on the agenda.  Look left.  You just need to take your glasses off the top of your head.













      The Independent Trade Union Certification Officer (CO) was set up by Harold Wilson’s  Labour government in 1975.  The CO ruled this week that Ewing was wrong and that the nominations were invalid:

       "I find that the BASSA branch meeting of 13 January 2014 was not properly convened, in breach of [union] rule 16.8."

      Unite Gen Sec McCluskey - lost a loyalist


      In a further blow to 'United Left' (the bureaucratic McCluskey supporters club)  the Certification Officer also ruled that the Chair of BASSA branch at the time, 'Los Angeles Liz', had illegally kept her seat on the union's ruling Executive Council for over 7 months.   

      "I make a declaration that Unite the Union (“the Union”) breached rule 6.2 of its rules in allowing Ms Malone to hold office on the Executive Council of the Union from about 1 May 2014 to about 15 December 2014 when she was not eligible to do so as she was not then an “accountable representative of workers” according to [union] rule 6.2."
       
      Lizanne Malone, who lives in Los Angeles, California, did finally resign from the Executive Council (EC) in December 2014, 6 months after the first complaint had been put in and before the Certification Officer (CO) hearing.  The CO made clear that if she had not jumped, he would have pushed her:  "If she had remained on the EC I would have ordered that she be removed from it."




      In mid 2014 the BASSA branch bureaucracy panicked when they realised Lizanne Malone might have to resign  from the Executive.  Their branch Secretary wrote to all BASSA members in July 2014: 

      Los Angeles Liz, also wearing a glasses hat
      "Unite are now having to question whether Lizanne can keep her seat on the Executive Council, in regards that she has recently stood down as Chair of our branch. Unite’s Chief of Staff is researching this latest complaint in regards to the rulebook and past practice and the outcome will be given in due course.

      If they are successful in this campaign, Lizanne would have to stand down and BASSA sadly would lose a seat on the Executive Council, as it would likely go to other workers in other industries as Lizanne’s seat is a “regional women’s” seat not an “aviation” seat.

      So, in effect a handful of members of our own branch have lobbied others for us to lose a valuable seat most likely to local government workers or the community-housing sector. In short they wish to see BASSA’s ability to influence at the highest level reduced...

      In electoral terms BASSA are akin to Florida in the US presidential elections, if you can win BASSA’s support you can stand a good chance of winning the General Secretary election and, through that office, control of Unite. It is widely known BASSA is fiercely loyal to Len who was a true friend during the dispute but different leadership in BASSA would see that change.."
       
      Murray - " I believe this complaint is entirely without merit"
      Unite's chief of Staff Andrew Murray did his best to keep her.  In an email disclosed to the hearing (at left), Murray wrote to General Secretary McCluskey with a plan to claim Malone had been victimised by her employer British Airways.  

      However evidence was given at the hearing pointing out that she actually got on better with her employer than many of her members did. She tried to offer her branch as sponsor for British Airways Head of IFCE, Bill Francis.  IFCE is the department responsible for administering cabin crews:

      To: ██████████████
      Subject: BASSA:
      Date: Mon, 25 Jul 2011 11:28:36 +0100


      Dear Colleagues 

      Just over a week ago during a 2-day meeting with BA, Bill Francis mentioned to me he was taking part in the GNR [Great Northern Run].. I told Bill that BASSA would sponsor him.. The gesture was well-intentioned.. But sometimes working on peace is harder than waging war. It seems my offer has caused offence with sections of the membership and, in hindsight, I can understand that. Perhaps a little more water has yet to flow under the bridge and there has to be more concrete evidence that BA are more proactive in putting the past behind them. I have this morning telephoned Bill to tell him that perhaps the BASSA membership are not quite ready to embrace this gesture just yet..

      Lizanne Malone:
      Chairman BASSA 2000"


      In total 5 complaints were submitted to the Certification Officer, the first two were the key ones and both were upheld.  The remaining three related merely to the union's  handling of the key complaint and were rejected.



      Read the full Certification Officer report here.




      Meanwhile BASSA branch members are still trying to inspect their branch's accounts under union rule 19.10.  They are attempting to uncover, amongst many other things, how over £1/2 million can be spend on 'sundries' in a single year: