Socialist Worker


Issue No. 1689


UNISON UNION general secretary Rodney Bickerstaffe has repeatedly claimed that the spate of disciplinary cases and expulsions in the union is not a "political vendetta". Look at the the list of those who have been attacked:

  • Socialist and leading Glasgow UNISON activist Roddy Slorach-expelled and now awaiting his appeal.
  • Socialists Candy Udwin and Dave Carr, secretary and chair of UCLH hospitals UNISON in London-still waiting to hear the outcome of the union leaders' disciplinary case against them.
  • Left wing shop steward Faith Ryan from Birmingham-expelled. Others could also face expulsion or disciplinary penalties.
  • Several left wing branch officers of Sheffield council UNISON-facing union disciplinary cases, with their branch remaining suspended.

The latest round of expulsions pushed through by UNISON leaders fits with the same pattern.

Several shop stewards and activists in Newham council, east London, heard last week that they too face expulsion. They are accused of a catch-all accusation dating back to a contested election in the union branch three years ago. Some 30 people, stewards and activists, attended a meeting in the local union office called by outgoing branch officers.

Union leaders say some people had broken into the union office and removed equipment to frustrate the newly elected branch officers. Any such behaviour would be unacceptable. Yet, rather than properly investigate any such allegation, UNISON leaders singled out just a few people who had attended the meeting in the union office.

People who can prove they had no part in any of the actions alleged by union leaders have had no chance to answer such allegations. This is because the whole case was conducted on the basis of "guilt by association" with vague collective charges. UNISON members should demand their leaders stop the witch-hunt.

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Article information

Sat 25 Mar 2000, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1689
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