At the beginning of conference a number of delegates challenged the standing orders committee over motions and amendments that had been ruled out of order.
John McLoughlin from Tower Hamlets questioned why his branch’s amendment to a motion on countering the far right could not be discussed.
The amendment referred to the BNP’s attempts to infiltrate Unison. Due to Unison conference rules, John was not able to mention any details about specific individuals or cases. But many delegates were aware of revelations in Private Eye and elsewhere that have detailed how a Unison member in the north east of England was a member of Facebook social networking groups that were a focus for fascists. She was one of those behind the complaints against nurse and anti-racist activist Yunus Bakhsh (see » Defend Yunus Bakhsh).
The standing orders committee told conference that they accepted that the investigation that had initially led to the amendment being ruled out of order had now concluded. But it said the amendment was still out of order due to the possibility of legal action in the future. This sets a dangerous precedent where the potential for hypothetical future legal action can be used to frustrate the chance to discuss issues.
Activists campaigning over the deportation of cleaners from Soas university in London reported a good response from delegates. Two Unison branches submitted emergency motions.