Supportcarolinebedale's Blog

December 7, 2009

Reclaim the Union – It’s Ours

Filed under: News — supportcarolinebedale @ 1:07 am

Caroline Bedale  participated in a ‘Reclaim the Union’ meeting at the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday 8th December. 

John McDonnell MP hosted the meeting which was addressed by Glenn Kelly (speaking about the attack upon himself and three colleagues – the Defend the 4 campaign – in which four members of the Socialist Party have been disciplined (see www.stopthewitchhunt.org.uk ) and Caroline Bedale as well as Chris Bough from PCS.

John reported that he has received correspondence accusing him of aligning himself with the Union’s “detractors” but it was clear that he, and all those at the meeting, completely rejected the accusation that those who are being witch-hunted and disciplined are the union’s ‘detractors’.  On the absolute contrary – they are the ones who are most in touch with members, who represent members’ collective views and who are willing to fight to protect members and public serviceds.  It is those who make such accusations who are the detractors – they are undermining the reputation of the union.  UNISON is meant to be a “member-led” Union (that means that lay members determine our policies and our organisation). 

Glenn explained that a Regional Organiser had given evidence in a tribunal that a training course for UNISON staff in the London Region had been told that officials needed to deal with the problem of “Trotskyists” in the Union (who should be “castigated”). This evidence, given truthfully by a respected official of our Union who has given decades of service (and is certainly no “Trot”!) is truly shocking.

Caroline raised the issue that she had been accused of ‘acting in a manner prejudicial to the union.  But who and what is the union?  It is the members and their stewards and branch officers who day in day out fight for members’ rights and for public services.  Branch members have not made any complaints about Caroline – or about the other people who are being disciplined.’  Those behind these attacks are the ones who potentially prejudice the union.  

The meeting backed John McDonnell MP in calling for an independent inquiry into the allegations made in court against senior UNISON full-time officials in London – and indeed to widen this to cover other regions where loyal and hard-working union members are being disciplined.

The allegations are relevant for Caroline’s case – in that she believes she is also a ‘victim’ of the witch-hunt against political activists who disagree with Labour, although she is not a member of any political party.

All union members are urged to support the call for an independent inquiry – write to Dave Prentis, General Secretary, to demand this.

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