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.

Gail/Len/Bill/Martin Love Square Scandal

As we predicted the person who came last in the Unite General Secretary election is now getting on fabulously with the winner.  Gail Cartmail's first words on losing were pointedly:
I would like to congratulate Len on his success in the ballot and I look forward to working with him
The love fest was reciprocated by Martin Mayer, commandant of the Len McCluskey Club that calls itself 'United Left' (UL).  Four days after the official result he sent an email to all the 193 members of UL entitled "Gail Cartmel[sic]'s  piece on NHS" (He hasn't quite got a handle on how to spell her name yet) and said
"Well done Gail Cartmel for this article on NHS privatisation.
Martin Mayer"
Attached to it was a document purported to be written by Cartmail, the unelected Unite Assistant General Secretary. Oddly though there is no trace of the document on Cartmail's Blog (as at 30 Nov).  In fact there is an entirely different article on the same subject.
Even odder is that although the article is subtitled 'By Gail Cartmail',  if you look at the properties of the document, as all 193 UL members can (click 'file' then 'properties') it says Author : Bill Ronskley.

Who is Bill Ronksley? And what a great name for Google.  It turns out that Ronksley is secretary of Martin Mayer's Trade Council .  What a small, small world....

'No, no I didn't mean it boss, vote Len'
What next?  We reckon Simon Dubbins, Unite's International Director, who, after setting up his campaign website then stood down in favour of McCluskey, deserves some Club Len Love too.

New! rumours abound that Bayliss is on his way out of his £133K a year union job.

Message from Jerry Hicks

"Standing on the shoulders of 52,527 giants"! 

Please can I take this opportunity to convey a massive thank you to all those who contributed in our campaign and produced a result that the media and political parties said was not possible. To our great credit we always believed and knew otherwise.

Disappointed? For sure. A magnificent achievement? Absolutely.

Our message, was vastly different to any of the other candidates, as were the resources! So, finishing second and in doing so beating not one but two Assistant General Secrtaries was incredible. It proved that we were right when we, and only we, said it was a two horse race and that we actually could have won.

However we did not win, but it is up to us now to decide what, if anything, we wish to do next in order to give a voice to the hundreds of branches and workplaces that nominated us and the 52,527 people who voted for us.

So please give these matters some thought and

General Secretary Election Results

Timed at 1pm Sunday 21st November.  Updated with approx figures 5:30pm.

McCluskey 101,000 votes 42% 
Hicks  52,000 votes 22% 
Bayliss  46,000 votes 19% 
Cartmail 39,000 votes 16%

Turnout 15.8%.  Dearunite.com has it first.

Points to note:

  • Considering Hicks was the only non management candidate he has had a fantastic result. Not to mention the huge amount of money spent by the other candidates.
  • A tiny 6.7% of all members voted for McCluskey and he did not even get half of those who did vote - what sort of mandate is that?
  • McCluskey has to retire in 4 years time due to his age (61). Unless he forges his  birth certificate (as has already been suggested by his supporters club). Or he changes the union rule book. And breaks his promise to go at 65.
  • The stupid claim that "a vote for Hicks was a vote for Bayliss" has been soundly disproved, just as it was in the 2009 election when it was alleged that a vote for Hicks was a vote for Coyne.
New! Message from Jerry Hicks

Press announcement here

Incidentally don't be surprised if McCluskey awards Gail Cartmail a senior position in the union for her role in taking Amicus votes off Hicks and Bayliss, watch this space.

McCluskey set to win

Unite - been ill a long time
Sadly Dearunite.com regret to be the first to predict a McCluskey win in the election for General Secretary of Unite at 5pm on Saturday 20th Nov 2010.  This is based on a 15.7% turnout.  Full result expected tomorrow (Sunday).  

The turnout is high by the union's appalling standards, in the last General Secretary election in 2009  it was a record at 15% and this was credited to Jerry Hick's grass roots campaign.  At the last Executive elections in 2008 it was 9.7% on the TGWU side  and 8.9% on Amicus's.

With Deepest Sympathy to all our members.

No flowers please.

The Election in Numbers

"It's not the people who vote that count; It's the people who count the votes" Stalin (attrib).
1,509,500 ballot papers sent out (source: Electoral Reform Services)
1,449,669 members for whom the union has addresses (source: Union's latest Annual Return)
1,314,821 paying members (source: Union's latest Annual Return)
    150,000 likely voters (based on a typical 10% turnout)
If you are one of the many members who did not receive a ballot paper, despite hassling both the union and ERS, you will not find those figures amusing.

We append below the text of a complaint to Electoral Reform Services submitted on 24th September 2010.

Dear Mr Hearn,

Unite General Secretary election. In confidence.

You may recall that I visited Electoral Reform Services with a candidate on 20th Nov 2008, to inspect the votes you counted for the Unite Executive election of that year.

On that visit we raised our concern that the members' address list, used to send out ballot papers, may contain large numbers of members at the same address and that you did not check this, or keep records of it. You were unable to identify any ballot papers sent out in that way or to provide us with any anonymised data on how many ballot papers went to how many multiple addresses.  We had some further correspondence with you and in an email entitled "Unite/T&G Election 2008" dated 27 Nov 2008 you wrote to us:

"A check on whether multiple ballot papers are going to the same address is not carried out."

It seems to us that this an obvious way for a union to rig a ballot since the union supply the address list.  ERS would not notice it and would endorse any ballot rigged in this way.  Furthermore any candidate checking the votes cast would not be able to detect this. This appears to us to be a serious flaw in your counting and verification arrangements. It may also be a breach of section 51(a) of the Trade Union and Labour relations Act 1992:

"51 Voting
(5) The ballot shall be conducted so as to secure that—
(a) so far as is reasonably practicable, those voting do so in secret, ..."

If only because if 1,000 ballot papers went to the same address that cannot be taking all reasonable and practical steps to keep the voting secret. 

Please would you assure us that this flaw has been or will be rectified before the General Secretary election ballot commences, outline to us how you have rectified it and assure us that any candidate will be able to inspect this aspect of the ballot afterwards.

Lastly I ask that you keep this email confidential and not disclose its existence or contents to the union or to those three candidates who are employees of the union, or their representatives, or to disclose to the union that you are implementing a check or changing your procedures regarding this issue. 

We would regard disclosure on your part as partial and consider it might facilitate fraud by forewarning employees of the union thus allowing the possibility of them devising alternative methods.  You should be aware that two of the candidates who are union employees have been arrested in the past, one as part of a police inquiry into ballot rigging (paragraph 36) and one by the Fraud Squad (paragraph 8 (internal notes of the union’s legal director)) . I willingly add that although the last one remained under investigation for 2 years neither were charged.

Read about the 2008 election, the TGWU's very careful voters and their incredibly low spoilt ballot rates here.

'United Left' Ban Another Left Activist

UL's Commandant Martin Meyer's cameo role in 'The Wall'
The tiny (193 members) group that purports to be the 'United left' or even more unbelievably 'Broad Left' in the union are now down to 192 members after banning one more. 192 members out of a union of 1.5 million!

Today Mark of Unite Central branch was removed after daring to write:
"Make sure you don’t have any regrets after the Election.
Make sure that you don't feel that you have been used and spat out by another highly paid Union Officer to get another pay rise.
Make sure that you don’t have that empty feeling that nothing has been gained by this election.
Make sure that you are not bullied by others.
Make sure you vote for Jerry Hicks"
This was in response to a mailing by the 'McCluskey Club' urging voters to support the Machine.  There must be a limit to how many members the tiny group can ban before it disappears up its own arse...

Previously banned and airbrushed was the editor of dearunite.com. We attach one of those airbrushed out posts here, exposing an old betrayal by the

Unite People's Front, People's Unite Front

If you've ever wondered about the background to the current election in Unite, in particular which faction has been stabbing which other faction in the back, then dearunite.com has come across an article which we can't fault: The Left and the Jerry Hicks campaign (Why the Socialist Party and AWL have got it wrong).

It's a little long but persevere.   It has a great quote from one notorious faction, the Alliance for Workers Liberty (AWL), a weirdly Zionist Trotskyist group:
"Calling for a vote for McCluskey does not mean relying on him to deliver what he says he stands for. McCluskey has not done it so far, in his capacity as Assistant General Secretary. And there is no reason to suppose that he would deliver in the role of General Secretary."
Believe it or not, AWL are aggressively supporting McCluskey. The article also has a new account of the infamously stitched-up 'United Left' meeting that selected McCluskey, which we reported on in September.

New! Another good article, more 'technical' and less penetrable, from the Communist Party of Great Britain:
The 'United Left' has no internal democracy and there is no chance of ever getting it. It is dominated in terms of personnel and ideology by full-timers and union employees, whose career advancement depends on doing the bureaucracy’s bidding. They guard the portals of the organisation. If you ever looked like democratising that body and allowing in the ranks in struggle, it would be ‘Goodbye, gobshite’.

Open Warfare in Disunite

Started like Starsky and Hutch
Ends like Reservoir Dogs
In an extrordinary letter in today's Guardian Joint General Secretary Woodley has openly attacked the candidate of the other General Secretary, Derek Simpson.  Read the letter here.

Woodley accuses movie star Bayliss of 'presenting a grossly distorted view of his own union' and attacks him as 'never having led industrial negotiations as a union official'. He finishes off with 'Bayliss's industrial judgment is seriously open to question'.

This sort of spat is exactly what you get when a union is run in the interests of the senior management and not the members. If either McCluskey, Cartmail or Bayliss win, expect more of the same.

Failure to Deliver

Len McCluskey and Union GS Woodley
Exclusive! We covered last week the apparent failure of union officials to deliver at least one box of 'Vote McCluskey' leaflets from their offices (McCluskey's campaign slogan is "It's time to deliver").

Well we have hold of another email expanding upon the subject and reproduce it below.

Incidentally 'Failure to deliver' sums up neatly all three of the management candidates in this election - McCluskey, Bayliss and Cartmail;  The UK's largest union and biggest provider of funds to the Labour Party (£5 million a year) can't even deliver 100 Labour MPs when it needs them.

Brian Rice is a long standing member of Unite's  Executive Council and a Senior Rep at Bombardier Aerospace. 

From: Brian Rice
Sent: 21 October 2010 11:33
To: jimmy.kelly@unitetheunion.org; tony.woodley@unitetheunion.org; derek.simpson@unitetheunion.org;
Subject: Ref General Secretary Election

Hi Jimmy
I would like to make a formal complaint about what appears to be a systematic abuse of the rules governing the forthcoming General Sectary's Election. 

My complaint centers around a number of things which i believe contravenes the notice sent to all Unite employees from the joint General Secretaries dated June 2010.

I would refer to Paragraph (a) of this document:- the corporate identity and logo of the union and the unions resources, which include the unions membership databases, must not be used to support any particular candidate in this election.

Firstly on the 13th October 2010 at a meeting in the Antrim Road with the Power Workers, it would be my understanding that literature in support of Len McCluskey was offered to the representatives in attendance

Same as The Greedy Bankers

Dearunite's cinema critic introduces the short film "Same as The Greedy Bankers":
The Idealist philosopher Hegel thought that material reality stemmed from ideas, and that without them reality is just a jumble of uninterpreted sensory inputs.

Karl Marx took this philosophy and flipped it.  He believed that people's ideas, their beliefs, the way they viewed the World and other people, were determined by the material conditions of their existence.

Imagine then that the material conditions of your existence are a house for life, plus a spare, plus expenses and a salary package of £200K.  Nearly 8 times the average wage. What sort of  beliefs, what sort of World view are you going to have?  The answer is of course "Same as The Greedy Bankers"....
 Film courtesy of Channel 4 'Dispatches'
The sequel to "Same as The Greedy Bankers" is the excellent "Baylissgate the Movie", available free here.

'Caught in the Rigging'

"Not another bloody leaflet left behind"
Exclusive! dearunite.com have seen an incredible two emails from Unite's  Executive Committee member Brian Rice.  You may recall last week we quoted McCluskey's  chief commandant Martin Meyer's exhortation to his troops:

"Time to get the vote out!.. For this to work we have to get ORGANISED!  It's no good having election materials languishing in union offices.."

Well it seems the paid troops in this election campaign may have been a bit lax..
Brian Rice/Shorts/Bombardier
15/10/2010 11:35

Ref Election for General Secretary

Hi Jimmy

I wish to make a formal complaint with yourself reference election material in support of Len McClusky being stored and distributed out of our offices on the Antrim Road.

Myself and Jimmy Neil where at an meeting on the Antrim Road with Jackie Pollock  whilst we where waiting on Jackie we went into the training room where we subsequently found a box of leaflets in support of Len McClusky with the address of one of our officials on the side.

I asked Jimmy Neill to get Jackie and Eugene to come to the training room, being the two most senior people in the building, I asked them to explain why election material was in the building and was there material in support of the other candidates, I have to say I was not happy with their response so I removed the box from the building, if you want to see it I can produce it for you.

I also told them that election material had been handed out at courses in the Antrim Road in support of Len McCluskey and was visibly on show for all to see.

I would request that you carry out an urgent investigation into what has happened as I am sure you would be aware it is a serious breach of the rules governing the election for General Secretary. I refer to the guidelines for the conduct of the ballot 2010   2.6 section (a) The

Woodley: Bayliss a Disgrace and Scandalous

Any thoughts that if one of the management of Unite (Bayliss, Cartmail or McCluskey) wins the lucrative General Secretary job then Unite will re-unite, were swiftly dispelled this evening.
Woodley and his silent
side-kick McCluskey
Simpson loosely holding
the reins of Les 'Disgrace' Bayliss
In today's Guardian Bayliss had himself a full page spread, in a carefully crafted (but doomed) attempt to potray himself as an honest moderate. The Guardian 'advert' for Bayliss was entitled "BA and Unite dispute is stuck in 70s like Life on Mars" and compounds Bayliss's stupidest statement yet ("If I am General Secretary of Unite there will NEVER be any strikes called over Christmas.” Or Easter, or school holidays, or Ramadan, or bank holidays, or weekends (you get the drift).

So this evening at the anti cuts rally in London General Secretary Woodley struck back (McCluskey seemingly unable speak for himself) saying Bayliss's comments were  "a disgrace" and "nothing short of scandalous".

New! Jerry Hicks press release: 'pawns in an election chess game'. The one non-management candidate in the election is Jerry Hicks .  Jerry came second in Unite's 2009 election for General Secretary, comfortably beating 2 paid officials and losing only to the incumbent General Secretary. There is no incumbent in this election.

All the other candidates apart from Jerry Hicks are highly paid and expensed Assistant General Secretaries in the union. Les Bayliss is the chosen candidate of Joint General Secretary Derek Simpson.  McCluskey is the chosen candidate of Joint General Secretary Tony Woodley.   Gail Cartmail's role seems to us to be to take Amicus votes off Bayliss to assist McCluskey.

Baylissgate the Movie

The short video below succinctly explains 'Baylissgate', an extraordinary tale of a senior union offical allocating £1/4 million of members subs to a charity and his mate demanding 10% of that from the charity as a "finders fee".  Readers may recall the Baylissgate story was broken exclusively by dearunite.com.
Film courtesy of Channel 4 'Dispatches' You can also view the movie  here (large file)
Incredibly the affair reveals that  General Secretary candidate Les Bayliss was arrested by the Fraud Squad (paragraph 8) and investigated by the police for 2 years (although never charged)  and that the union, under Bayliss's direction, was handing out £1/4million pounds every year to just 3 charities.

As a result of the gaff being blown, General Secretary Simpson reported that Bayliss would no longer become a trustee of the union's charity.

Our union has a turnover of £134 million.  You can vote for Les Bayliss to run our union if you want from 25th October to 19th November. Read the full story with all documentation on www.lesbayliss.com.

Broad Left: 'Vote for Hicks'

Today we publish in full an article by the respected ex Chair of the Broad Left in the AEEU and then Amicus, Jimmy Warne.  Jimmy was chair of the union's Left, the  'Gazette' group, from 2001-2006 and is currently chair of the Newcastle Central branch of Unite.   He was the union's Education Officer.  Jimmy also had a starring role in 'Baylissgate the movie'.


Jimmy Warne
So here we are again. Some ten years ago we all came together on the Left to remove Sir Ken Jackson and replace him with someone we all hoped would honour his election pledges. Now the circle has completely turned, we find ourselves asking the exact same questions we posed ten years ago.

The 600 word statements from the candidates have just dropped through our letter boxes and what do we see? Two managers Bayliss and Cartmail and another manager who is trying to ride two horses with one arse in McCluskey (and failing miserably in the process, as anyone with the debacle of BA hanging over his head would be). And then there is Jerry Hicks, his statement of intent is clear, his message is totally different from

Pots, Kettles and Projectors

Things are hotting up in the General Secretary election kitchens.  McCluskey's union machine in particular is simmering.  Here are some extracts from their exhortation to each and every one of their 192 United Left list members:
"Time to get the vote out!.. For this to work we have to get ORGANISED!  It's no good having election materials languishing in union offices.."
And what would election materials for a particular candidate be doing languishing in union offices we wonder. According to the rules they are meant to be made and distributed by genuine activists, not by paid-for ones and the union.

Their imperial commander Martin Mayer is positively boiling in his views about rival candidate Les Bayliss :
"His little clique around Derek Simpson and Steve Davison have already demonstrated how they operate, in the worst of AMICUS tradition. It's a centralised and ruthless style of leadership which bestows grace and favours on close supporters and shuts out everyone else - and even worse for those they regard as their enemies. "
Anyone with a background in Amicus or TGWU would recognise that description, it probably applies to the majority of unions today.  Most would agree that the TGWU would win in a contest though.  According to Sigmund Freud, "projection" is a defense mechanism whereby one "projects" one's own undesirable thoughts, motivations, desires, and feelings onto someone else. For example, someone who harbors greed while believing that avarice is socially undesirable might believe that a friend is greedy, projecting his or her avarice onto the other person. Of course they could both really be greedy corrupt control freaks.

Mayer's extraordinary tirade continues, claiming
"abuse of union funds for a sickeningly high style of living in bars, restaurants and hotels. On the UNITE Executive Council we have seen it and witnessed it.
We can't publish the full text as it is clearly libellous and disappointingly no evidence

"The working class can kiss my arse,

  I've got the union job at last.."
Wage inflation: Len McCluskey, Les Bayliss and Gail Cartmail
Today we publish the salaries paid to the three employees of the union who are candidates for the position of General Secretary.

Although they are only Assistant General Secretaries, their packages rival those of the bosses of other major unions, e.g. the GMB General Sec's salary is only £87,000, NUT boss gets £94,374, Unison GS's basic is £97,327.

Unite has 9 Assistant General Secretaries!

Source - Unite TGWU and Amicus sections
Should we be unfortunate enough to elect any one of them General Secretary in November they will likely be receiving a package costing in excess of current General Secretary Simpson's  £196,497

Unite Gen Sec Election Nominations

These are now public:

Len McCluskey 829 valid nominations, including from branches representing 368,986 members

Les Bayliss 214 valid nominations, including from branches representing 137,942 members

Jerry Hicks 137 valid nominations, including from branches representing 109,088 members

Gail Cartmail 97 valid nominations, including from branches representing 37,836 members

What is notable is the poor showing by McCluskey considering that the T&G side of the union (his side) have 3,000 out of the total 5,000 branches.  So the machine's man could only get 1/4 of his own branches to support him for General Secretary. The same does apply to Bayliss although with Bayliss's history in Amicus this is not at all

McCluskey: How it All Began

There has been a lot of misinformation about how Len McCluskey was selected as the candidate of the 'United Left' group for General Secretary of Unite.  The misinformation has been spread particularly thickly on United Left's secretive, small and paranoid email list.

So we publish below the true account by someone who was actually there, Dr Judy Atkinson.  This was originally published in the respected Labour Left Briefing magazine:

Judy Atkinson reports

On 5th September, in a hustings marred by exclusions, bullying and walk outs, United Left supporters met in Manchester to decide who will be their candidate for Unite general secretary in 2010.

Three candidates who had put their names forward were Jerry Hicks, victimised convenor at Bristol Rolls Royce, who in March came closer than anyone else to unseating Derek Simpson when he polled 40,000 votes to Simpson’s 60,000 in the election for joint general secretary; Len McLuskey, Unite assistant general secretary and Tony Woodley’s favoured successor; and Rob Williams, convenor at the Linamar factory in Swansea, victimised and subsequently reinstated after a successful strike in May.

At the start of the meeting United Left national chair Martin Mayer decided to exclude about 20 people on various spurious grounds that they had arrived late or were not

Banned and Airbrushed

The editor of this site David Beaumont has been secretly banned from the  'United Left' email group.  We say secretly because even he wasn't told let alone the other members and no reasons were given. In addition six of his posts have been airbrushed from the group's archives.

The United Left  group is supposedly an amalgamation of the TGWU left and the Amicus left, of which David has been a member for over 15 years.  In reality though the Amicus Left split and the TGWU Left was always a tiny but powerful General Secretary's supporters club.  The group purports to be the Left in the union but its list currently has only 193 members.  Many of these are paid union officials (some even using their official '@unitetheunion.com' email address) and some members maintain duplicate addresses.

To put the 193 figure in context, dearunite.com's mailout list has just under 3,000 email addresses and the Union has 1.2 to 1.7 million members.  So you can see there is something wrong with the lay democracy of the union when the paranoid controllers, many of them paid, of a list of 193 people claim to represent the entire

Charlie Whelan out of Unite

No more champagne then...
Charlie Whelan was appointed 'Political Director' of Unite out of the blue by General Secretary Simpson, at a large undisclosed salary. Now just as suddenly and undemocratically he has gone. His only achievement we have noticed is his scheme to ensure that all Unite prospective MPs have to be approved onto a list.  Once on, if not selected for a seat, they cannot stand against the chosen one. (see page 11).  Nothing about following Unite policy once in power then, more about face fitting.

One of his last, expensive, contributions to the Unite Executive meetings was
"Charlie Whelan reported that Labour can still win the General Election and people should not get too despondent about opinion polls" (minute 542).
Whelan failed to get one of his mates,Balls,picked as Unite's Labour leader preference,  Guardian Story here

News of the Screws

In our last post ('Hicks in the Sun') we showed how Murdoch's paper The Sun covered Unite General Secretary candidate Jerry Hicks.  Here by contrast is how his other paper treats candidate Les Bayliss.  Spot the difference and  judge for yourself who is planning to screw Unite members:




Strikers Blow

Union chief slams walk-outs over cuts
WARNING: Les Bayliss
WARNING: Les Bayliss

A UNION chief last night urged militants to BACK OFF from a threatened wave of "suicide" strikes over public spending cuts.

Les Bayliss warned mass walkouts would only inflict misery on hard-hit families.

He appealed to the moderate majority to stand up to hardliners hell-bent on leading them over the cliff edge.

Mr Bayliss, assistant general secretary of Britain's biggest union Unite, insisted there was no mood for strikes among grassroots members.

And he cautioned his 1.6million members against repeating the mistakes of the 1980s and being dragged into battles they could not win.

Ex-engineer Mr Bayliss, 57, warned: "Public sector strikes will only deprive the vulnerable of services the Tories want to...

Hicks in the Sun

The Sun writes:

Monday, 6 September 2010
Sun City - The financial page you can trust edited by Steve Hawkes

AN extremist hoping to run the Unite union has vowed to ground BRITISH AIRWAYS by taking ALL staff on strike.

And he vowed to "bring matters to a head" if voted in this December - by extending the cabin crew dispute to all members, such as baggage handlers. He said: "Seventy members have been suspended by BA, 13 have been sacked.

"This is no longer just about changing cabin crew terms and conditions. It's about busting a union."

He continued: "It needs to be brought to a head, to a conclusion.

"With the members' backing I would extend balloting beyond the cabin crew."

Mr Hicks claimed BA needs to realise that "browbeating" workers into submission may hand them victory - but would de-motivate staff. He is one of four contenders to replace joint heads Derek Simpson and Tony...

McCluskey and the Machine

You may have noticed there is an election for General Secretary of Unite. If you ever had any doubt that Assistant General Secretary Len McCluskey is the chosen candidate of the well oiled union machine then look no further than his own campaign website's source code*:
<meta name="webmaster" content="Webmaster of Rippleffect Studio" />
<meta name="creator" content="Rippleffect Studio Limited" />
<meta name="publisher" content="Rippleffect Studio Limited" />
<meta name="author" content="Rippleffect Studio Limited" />
<meta name="description" content="Unite 4 Len Open:- Home" />

'Rippleffect Studio Limited' are one of hundreds of thousands of web site developers. Just by chance they happen to do Unite's website too (click below):

"Digital Agency Rippleffect has landed contracts for the Communication Workers Union and the UK's biggest union, Unite. Rippleffect, which has offices in Liverpool and Manchester, has redeveloped the CWU website and created a new online portal for Unite."

* to view any website source code click on 'view' and then 'source' in Internet Explorer or 'page source' in Firefox.

Welcome to the new dearunite.com

'On the interweb since July 2000'.

Click the "what's really going on in our union" banner at the top to go to the home page and latest news.

This is the fifth incarnation of a what's-really-going-on-in-our-union website, the previous ones being dearunite.com (old version), amicus.cc, LYONSweb and the original rogerlyons.com. Not to mention the long defunct twojobsjackson.com (bit slow- held in time in the web archive).

All the previous sites were coded in raw HTML which was great for flexibility but a chore to update. This new site is much simpler. To see the all the old articles click on 'Old Site' in the left column. The search box at top works on the old site if you then choose 'linked from here'. Legal notice: This is not the official site of the union 'Unite'.

Pre 2010 articles here: dearunite.com