|McCluskey moves to the right|
Ray Smith, secretary of Newcastle Central 1901 branch, and David Beaumont, secretary of Hounslow and Feltham 1404M branch have both been prevented from standing. They received a personal message from General Secretary Len McCluskey:
"The Executive Council decided that you were not eligible to stand for election at its meeting on 29 to 31 January 2011. The minutes of its meeting are not yet available."
Ray wrote back:
"Dear Len,The two have been banned under rule 6.2 and 6.3:
Thank you very much for this. This matter is in the hands of the Certification Officer. For the avoidance of any doubt I assert for the reasons given in my complaint to the Certification Officer that you have, maybe personally, broken the rules of the union.
Let me say also that you are beginning to be reminiscent of Derek Simpson and the employers in the shipyards and the building sites where I used to work.
Why can you not honour your election pledges and return the union to the democracy that previous incumbents have stolen?"
6.2 In order to be eligible to be a candidate for election to, or hold office on, the Executive Council and/or any committee, council, or other body of the Union provided for by these rules, the member in question must be an accountable representative of workers.
6.3 The definition of the term “accountable representative of workers” shall be in the exclusive power of the Executive Council, which is empowered to take into account changing industrial realities and the unique nature of some industries (e.g.construction, contracting, leisure, rural etc) in formulating such a definition. It must nevertheless include Branch office-holders who are in employment, shop stewards, health & safety and equalities representatives.Undeniably David and Ray are branch office holders but McCluskey claims they are not 'in employment'. Ray is a self employed engineer and David a self employed IT consultant. The union had previously taken the extraordinary step of demanding (and receiving), their tax returns, to establish that they were really self employed, which they are.
Just to rub in that this really is a vindictive and selective move against the two, and against Grass Roots Left, the union added "This should not be taken as meaning that self-employed members are automatically ineligible to stand for lay office." In fact there are already self employed members of the union's executive. Read David's complaint of breach of the union's rules here.
Both candidates have already received more than enough branch nominations to stand.