Socialist Worker

Unison activist Investigated for winning union election

Issue No. 2171

John McDermott, a well-known Unison union activist, is under investigation by the union for trying to take up a national executive seat for which he won the highest vote.

John received the greatest number of votes for the Yorkshire and Humberside male regional seat.

However, he was not declared the elected candidate in June.

To make matters worse, he now finds himself being investigated under Unison’s disciplinary procedures for attempting to take up his seat and supposedly “misusing Unison resources” by using a union phone to contact union members.

John has complained to the Trade Union Certification Officer about eight possible breaches of Unison rules in relation to his election. The Certification Officer is waiting for a response from Unison after the union asked for a three-week extension to “complete investigations”.

John said, “You really couldn’t make it up. How can the person who received the greatest vote not be elected, and then face investigation for trying to exercise the will of the members who voted, by trying to take up the seat?

“I was told that I was in breach of Unison’s democratic processes and was failing to treat members with ‘dignity and respect’, by trying to take up the seat!

“Unison has clearly failed to investigate my complaints against removing me from office and is refusing to uphold the democratic will of the members. But now it faces a legal challenge, it wants time to investigate.”

“I think that it is no coincidence that I and others who do not share the Unison love of New Labour are facing action from our own union.”

Email messages of support to John Email complaints to Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison,

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Article information

Tue 29 Sep 2009, 18:27 BST
Issue No. 2171
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