Socialist Worker

Official: Unison branches broke union rules on political funding

Issue No. 2187

The Certification Officer, who monitors trade unions, has ruled that Unison broke its own rules over political funding.

The decisions came after a series of complaints by Yunus Bakhsh. Yunus was seeking to highlight the way that when the left is deemed to have breached rules then the union launches disciplinary investigations, but that other cases are treated differently.

The cases concerned instances where expenditure on Labour events had come from the general union fund rather than out of the political fund.

The Certification Officer found that “the following payments made by the former Glasgow Community Health Branch of Unison between March and December 2003 were made in breach of rule J8.1 of the rules of the Union.

“The payments were those made to or in relation to the Scottish Labour Party in the sum of £723.40; to or in relation to Affiliated Political fund (APF) Meetings in the sum of £821.23; to or in relation to the Dave Anderson Selection Campaign in the sum of £296.10; and to or in relation to the National Labour Link in the sum of £343.68.”

He found that some other payments complained of were not in breach of rules.

The Certification Officer further found that “The Union did not make a transfer of an equivalent sum from its Political Fund to its General Fund upon being informed of Mr Bakhsh’s complaints. However, it had made a transfer from its Political Fund to its General Fund of £5,969.42 in May 2009.

“The Union maintains that this transfer had been made to ensure that whatever the outcome of the financial problems that had arisen in its Glasgow branches, there could be no question of party political expenditure having been met from General Funds.

“However, the Union was unable to explain how it had arrived at such a precise sum for this transfer or why the transfer had been made in May 2009. I remain concerned by these unanswered questions.”

The union successfully argued that athough there may have been expenditure on sending delgates to certain Labour conferences, this was only wrong if it included attending “as a delegate or otherwise as a participator in the proceedings”. And the participants might only have been visiting.

It would be interesting to see if the same logic prevailed if a Unison branch sent “non-participating visitors” to events organised by socialist groups!

Back Yunus Bakhsh in legal fight against the bosses

Yunus Bakhsh needs funds for legal representation at his employment tribunal against his former employer, Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Trust. The tribunal take places next month.

He is alleging victimisation on the grounds of trade union activity, race and disability discrimination.

After more than three years of campaigning, the movement must ensure that Yunus is not priced out of his chance for justice.

Please send a donation yourself, and get your union branch to send money as well.

Send donations payable to Defend Yunus Bakhsh Campaign c/o 46c Lawe Rd, South Shields, Tyne & Wear, NE33 2EN. Email

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Article information

Tue 2 Feb 2010, 19:19 GMT
Issue No. 2187
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