The executive of the GMB union re-convened this week to discuss in detail the findings of the inquiry into allegations of corruption and fraud during the 2003 general secretary election. Some have argued that it is damaging to the movement to publicly display the corrupt practices that may have occurred in the past.
Our executive has taken the view that there is only one way to rebuild our union and make it accountable to the members again. This is to be honest and transparent about the lengths to which the regime of previous general secretary John Edmonds may have gone to ensure a suitable successor was “elected”
Elements from the Kevin Curran 2003 campaign team who were sacked or resigned from the GMB last year have since been employed by the AA and DHL to create scab unions to break the GMB. Despite several requests to do so Curran, who “won” the general secretary election, has refused to condemn the moves and thousands of workers have been attacked as management broke their union.
At every turn the Curran camp has issued writs against the GMB, and even used GMB money to pay for legal advice on how to sue the union.
Now the inquiry findings have been published for all to see. Evidence has been found that supports the allegations that union resources were directed to the Curran campaign.
There is evidence that union suppliers – law firms and printers – offered cash donations in return for extended contracts for union work. Some Curran 2003 campaign material was paid for by GMB members and the costs hidden in invoices. Eyewitness evidence seems to confirm employment tribunal findings that Kevin Curran protected senior managers found guilty of sexism and harassment to gain electoral advantage. The inquiry has established that outside organisations such as the TUC, Labour MPs and employers gave massive donations in cash and kind to the Curran campaign.
As a result of the inquiry findings the GMB 2005 congress is, rightly, being recalled on 11 March to allow delegates to consider the changes to the union rules that need to be made to prevent any abuses of this kind happening again.
From there we can hold a clean, democratic and accountable new election for general secretary without outside influence, and get back to the main job of representing our members and increasing our strength and power at work.