U is for Vendetta

Jimmy Warne - illegally expelled
If you ever wondered why we need election of officials in this union, read this story.  If you ever thought that reports of the union being controlled by a small, paid, 'General Secretary supporters club' were exaggerated, read this story.

Jimmy Warne was chair of the 'lay' (unpaid) Broad Left in the union (Amicus) from 2001-2006.  This was the 'Gazette' group which fought hard to topple the corrupt Right wing regime of Sir Ken Jackson .  We won that battle and put in place the supposed Left winger Derek Simpson, who claimed 'election of officials' was his guiding principle.  Clearly it turned out not to be. Jimmy Warne stood up to Simpson and was instrumental in exposing 'Baylissgate'.

In return Simpson sacked Jimmy from his union job.  Jimmy won an unfair dismissal  settlement at an Employment Tribunal.  Not content with this, Simpson's paid staff continued to harass Jimmy and eventually expelled him in May 2009, with a typical mixture of incompetence and malice. They did not tell Jimmy until December 2009.  In January 2010 Jimmy took the union to another Employment Tribunal (ET)  claiming the expulsion was unjustifiable discipline.  Last week the ET gave its unanimous and damning judgement which we publish in full here.

It is an extraordinary decision.  Jimmy's counsel Jody Atkinson told us
"I am pleased to report that we were successful on every point, despite the employment by Unite of expensive London counsel to take every technical point under the sun, and constant threats of costs from the Union's own solicitors Thompsons, who should know better. Davey Hall and Jeff Tate were found to have acted maliciously by seeking to victimise Jimmy for his previous Tribunal claim made during the Baylissgate Affair."
Jimmy himself told us:
"Tate and Hall and therefore Unite have had a vendetta against me and my Branch since the Union dismissed me for whistle blowing. Finally I have been vindicated and I call upon the General Secretary elect to suspend both Hall and Tate immediately and have an independent inquiry into this affair.   I am confident that if Hall and Tate are questioned they will tell us that they were acting under instruction."
The plot is a little Kafkaesque but in essence it was -
  1. Sack Jimmy.
  2. Wait for him to make an application for exemption from union subs due to unemployment.
  3. 'Lose' the application (and 'lose' a follow up one) and let him mount up arrears without telling him.
  4. When he is 26 weeks in arrears expel him as per the rules (but don't tell him).
  5. Now wait until 6 months have passed before informing him.  This will make any application he makes to an Employment Tribunal (ET) 'out of time' .
Fortunately the ET saw through this.  The tribunal consists of a Judge, an ex union

Much of the Same, Bit More Expensive

A happy Woodley
Woodley has decided to stand down as General Secretary a year earlier than he has to.  This was announced on Friday on the union's website.  It means that McCluskey will become General Secretary a year earlier, on 31st Jan 2011.

There is a clause in the Instrument of Amalgamation of TGWU and Amicus which allowed Woodley to stay on a year after Simpson goes (this month). This was in case Woodley's chosen candidate lost to Simpson's chosen one (Bayliss).  Then Woodley and Bayliss (or Hicks) would have been Joint General Secretaries for the first year.  Woodleys chosen candidate was of course Len McCluskey who won, so no need for Woodley to keep his paws on the reins.

McCluskey - an extra year all round
There is no payoff package for Woodley  - instead he gets to stay for another 2 years until Jan 2013  as 'Unite's executive officer for organising', "a position I have discussed with Len" .  Then he will get his big payoff.

Dearunite.com have been led to believe his new job is on the same salary package, though no mention is made of terms and conditions in the union statements.    This would appear to us to hand Woodley an extra year on his current salary over what he would have got by retiring Dec 2011, as was anticipated in the Instrument of Amalgamation. McCluskey described Woodley's move as "typical of his selflessness".

Wikileaks - Holding up the Mirror

Dearunite.com are hosting a Wikileaks mirror list page.

Wikileaks are being harassed by the US government and their main domain wikileaks.org has been disabled.   Click here to see a list of over 2,100 mirrors of the Wikileaks site, any will take you to the Wikileaks home page.

Under pressure from the US government PayPal have stopped handling donations to Wikileaks.  You could always type "online payments" into Google and then click on any ad link in the right hand column paid for by PayPal e.g. their paypal-business.co.uk link.  Each click costs PayPal money.

Remember it was Wikileaks who published the BNP's membership list last year.

New! Don't forget our famous Indy News page.

Bayliss Out the Gate

How will I make ends meet?
The star of Baylissgate the Movie is no more.  We've just heard that Assistant General Secretary Les Bayliss, who came a poor third in the General Secretary election, has left.  Saving to the union: £133K a year. Not only that, the tiny but tight Simpson/Bayliss  Supporters Club that called itself Workers Uniting Group (WUG) is to be disbanded. Bayliss's website is already gone.

WUG  apparently are to merge themselves into the small United Left Group and, as one source called it "return to being splitters and treacherous twats, no change there." They are having their closing down celebrations this evening at the official leaving do of Derek Simpson, who technically leaves office 31/12/10.

Apparently Richard O’Brien, the union's head of communications who ran the Bayliss campaign resigned as soon as the result was announced.  He'll be remembered for Bayliss's distinctive 'death by email' approach which seemed to consist of spamming every member the union had email addresses for.