bullying

Error message

  • Deprecated function: The each() function is deprecated. This message will be suppressed on further calls in _menu_load_objects() (line 579 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/menu.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Deprecated function: implode(): Passing glue string after array is deprecated. Swap the parameters in drupal_get_feeds() (line 394 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).

Exclusive: key Unite committee walks out, says will start legal action against union

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 16/05/2024 - 11:27pm in

Elected representatives walk out accusing Sharon Graham of stifling democracy and destroying the union, with Unite’s employed officers on the verge of industrial action against the union

Protesters holding a demo outside a meeting of Unite’s executive committee in March. Insert: general secretary Sharon Graham

In dramatic news that will further hit the management of the Unite union, which has been blighted by complaints of abuse, destruction of evidence and the betrayal of the oppressed people of Gaza despite the union’s democratic position in full support of them, members of a key Unite committee have today walked out and have said they are initiating legal action against the union over general secretary Sharon Graham’s ‘stifling’ of its democracy and what they say is her destruction of the union.

In a statement issued after the walk-out, the members of the ‘Finance and General Purpose Committee‘ of elected executive representatives, explained their action:

Today the members of the Unite Finance and General Purposes Committee (F&GPC), the most important committee of the Unite Executive Council, took the unprecedented step of walking out of the meeting and will be commencing legal action with the Certification Officer.

As members of the F&GPC we have not taken this decision lightly, but we are determined not to let our union’s democracy be subverted by a Chair who has lost the confidence of the committee and a General Secretary who is determined to stifle democratic decision making.

The background to this decision is the refusal of the Chair and General Secretary to allow representatives of Unite’s Officers committee to address the meeting and explain why they are on the verge of balloting for industrial action.

At the previous meeting the members of the F&GPC were told by Unite Executive Head of Operations, Sarah Carpenter, that there was no unrest at all with the officers and no issues to be addressed.

But this flies totally in the face of the letter that all F&GPC members received this week in which the Officers National Committee asked to urgently meet and address the F&GPC, in order to discuss matters with a view to resolving major problems before moving towards industrial action.

Under rule, the ultimate employer of Unite officers and staff is the Unite Executive Council, and as members of the key subcommittee of the Executive Council, we take that responsibility very seriously. The idea that officers of Unite are so angry and frustrated as to want to take industrial action is totally unprecedented and is a situation that warrants immediate attention.

For the Chair and General Secretary to use every possible bureaucratic means to prevent that discussion is an insult to the F&GPC, an insult to the wider Executive Council, and most of all an insult to our members who need their officers motivated and working hard to protect their jobs, pay and conditions.

Our decision comes on the back of months of the F&GPC’s growing concern about poor management of the organisation and deep concern about financial reporting and accountability. We also thoroughly object to the General Secretary using threats against members of the wider EC when raising and challenging her handling of our money.

As members of the Unite F&GPC we will not stand idly by and allow the Chair and General Secretary to destroy our great union. We will be considering commencing legal action with the Certification Officer before any more damage is done and will be calling on the Unite EC and all Unite members and activists to help restore the democratic control and accountability of our union.

Graham’s tenure at Unite has also been marked by a string of other serious allegations, which neither she nor the union has ever denied – of abuse, cover-up and failure to protect women:

In addition, she has been exposed behind the union’s decision to ban showings in Unite’s buildings of a film exposing racism, smears, rigging and abuse by the Labour right and has appeared to grow increasingly cosy with red-Tory Labour ‘leader’ Keir Starmer, despite Starmer’s lies, his contempt for democracy, his u-turns on promises to Unite members and his regime’s repeated blocking of Unite-backed parliamentary candidates.

Unite has been contacted for comment.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

Israel lobby-funded Woodcock tries to get Palestine Action banned 

Tory-collaborator, friend of apartheid and alleged sex-pest peer tables Lords bill to outlaw anti-genocide group

Main image: Palestine Action

John Woodcock, the former chair of Labour Friends of Israel made a peer and ‘extremism envoy’ by the Tories, plans to issue a report recommending new measures to outlaw groups trying to end genocide or to protect the planet – with a particular emphasis on protecting weapons manufacturers, treating them on similar lines to the proscription of supposed terrorist groups.

Woodcock, or Lord Walney, a longstanding supporter of the apartheid regime who accepted funding for a visit to Israel after Israel began its genocide in Gaza, wants to limit the activities and fundraising of groups such as Palestine Action (PA) and Just Stop Oil. PA’s direct action campaign against Israel’s largest weapons firm, Elbit Systems has seen successes in the UK, such as the closure of Elbit’s Oldham facility. Woodcock admits that the campaign has done “enormous damage” to the arms industry and wants a “proscription-light” option to restrict the groups’ ability to meet and fundraise – combined with “buffer zones” around weapons manufacturers to protect factories producing deadly technologies from protest. 

Supposedly an ‘independent’ government advisor, Woodcock is deeply-connected to the Israel lobby and the arms industry. He is the chair of the so-called ‘Defence Purpose Coalition’ of senior weapons industry figures and, since 2011, has travelled to Israel on multiple occasions on ‘all expenses paid’ trips funded by the Israeli government and pro-Israel lobby groups.

Woodcock is also a former right-wing Labour MP who in 2018 quit the party to escape an investigation into complaints from an investigation into ‘sex pest’ complaints against him. He was also accused by local Labour members of bullying staff.

In a statement on Woodcock’s ploy, Palestine Action said:

During our nearly four year direct action campaign, we’ve faced arrests, raids, imprisonment, beatings, convictions and more by a state desperate to protect the zionist war machine, over the freedom of their own citizens. Despite this, our movement’s determination and resilience has resulted in Elbit permanently closing two weapons factories, being dropped by several partners and losing 100’s of £millions in contracts with the Ministry of Defence. 

We are seven months into the Gaza genocide, and Walney thinks this scare tactic is going to make us surrender? He couldn’t be more wrong. 

When Palestine Action began we were under no illusion that the route to victory would be an easy ride. As a movement, we understand that every obstacle we face and overcome is a step closer to ending Israel’s weapons trade in Britain. For years the political class repressed us behind closed doors but refused to show their frustration at our growing campaign publicly. Now, they’re showing their hand which means we are winning.

Rather than deter us, Walney’s rampage to the press three days after we dissed him on twitter exposes his own motivations: to save face. 

He’s more concerned with protecting the military interests of a foreign genocidal entity over the will of the British people, who overwhelmingly support imposing an arms embargo on Israel.

His alliance is with Elbit Systems, who use Gaza as a laboratory to develop their “battle-tested” weaponry and are crucial to arming the ongoing genocide. Our alliance will always be with the Palestinian people.  Collectively we must refuse to surrender. No matter what, we will #ShutElbitDown!

Woodcock is one of a trio of hard-right former Labour MPs who were made peers by the Tories after campaigning against Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour in the run-up to the 2019 general election. Ian Austin, the ‘thuggish‘ Israel fanatic and Thatcher-worshipper who was reprimanded by Labour for his abusive conduct, abused Jewish writer Michael Rosen when Rosen was a guest of Parliament and had to apologise and pay damages to a former party staffer for libelling her as antisemitic, became a ‘trade envoy’ to Israel. John Mann, another similarly boorish Israel supporter who sprang a stunt attacking elderly former London mayor Ken Livingstone and was interviewed by police for ‘hate speech’ in an anti-Gypsy leaflet, became an ‘antisemitism tsar’ who went on to try – and fail – to stitch up Skwawkbox and the Canary as antisemitic.

To date, Israel has murdered over forty thousand – and as many as a hundred thousand – Palestinian civilians, overwhelmingly women and children, and has maimed even more, while imposing starvation on more than a million Palestinian people. The Israeli government is on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide, faces likely arrest warrants for war crimes and has been widely condemned for its war crimes and contempt for international and humanitarian law.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

Unite boss Graham ‘not amenable’ to Irish law, tribunal hears in Ogle discrimination case

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 05/05/2024 - 7:29am in

‘Extraordinary position’ taken by general secretary in bid to avoid testimony and cross-examination could result in prosecution

Unite union general secretary Sharon Graham has taken the ‘extraordinary position’ that she is not ‘amenable’ to Irish law, lawyers acting for senior trade unionist Brendan Ogle have told a Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) tribunal. Unite’s lawyers had first used the term during February’s session of Ogle’s discrimination case against Unite, when Ogle’s barrister Mary Paula Guinness BL raised the topic of WRC adjudicator, former UN prosecutor Elizabeth Spelman, issuing a subpoena to compel Graham’s appearance to give sworn evidence. Graham’s lawyers have subsequently confirmed her refusal to appear voluntarily.

Last Friday, the employment tribunal held a hearing, in Ogle’s Employment Equality Act 1998 complaint against Unite, of Ogle’s request for Graham, who is usually based in London, to be compelled to appear in Dublin for questioning under oath.

Ogle is claiming that Unite discriminated against him by sidelining him on his return from treatment for life-threatening cancer – and that he was told that the issue was that Graham ‘recognises loyalty’ from those who supported her in Unite’s 2021 general secretary election. Ogle, like many Irish figures and branches, supported Graham’s rival, Howard Beckett.

Graham’s lawyers argued that there is no need for Graham to appear because Unite will send a subordinate, Ogle’s former colleague, Tom Fitzgerald, to refute Ogle’s claim.

Sharon Graham has previously cancelled appearances in the Republic, avoiding members’ anger and scrutiny over the union’s ‘disgraceful’ treatment of Brendan Ogle. The situation caused such outrage in Ireland that union members picketed Graham’s long-delayed visit to Dublin, Unite’s Community section condemned it as ‘disgusting’ and a whole sector branch threatened to disaffiliate.

The tribunal had given Graham until 12 April for Ms Graham to respond to Ogle’s lawyers’ request to attend the next set of hearings at the end of this month, after which Spelman would hear legal argument the request for a formal summons. Graham did not respond. If a subpoena is eventually requested and issued, refusal to comply is a prosecutable criminal offence under Ireland’s ‘Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018‘.

Guinness, representing Ogle, told the tribunal that it is clear that Graham has “relevant information” in the case:

This is a general secretary who is general secretary over Unite in Ireland; it appears if we are to rely on the respondent’s submission that she has instructed her representatives that she is not amenable to Irish law.

She described the refusal as an “extraordinary” position, referring to Graham’s recent attendance at policy conferences in Dublin, Unite’s status as an active union in Ireland. and Ogle’s separate High Court defamation proceedings against Graham, her right-hand man Tony Woodhouse and the union, in which Graham is scheduled to appear, adding that:

She is general secretary of the whole union, including the union in Ireland. They have a head office here, her authority is exercised – it would be an unusual situation if she was to say she is not amenable to Irish law…

[Unite’s rulebook giving the general secretary sole power to change the responsibilities of union officers] all links in to the fact that in their submission they say this change arose after [Graham’s] election as general secretary.

Unite is the UK’s second-biggest union and one of only a handful of UK unions also active in the Republic of Ireland, with thousands of members in several sectors. Its lawyers claim that the WRC has no jurisdiction to compel Graham to attend.

However, if a summons is issued and Graham refuses to comply, she could face potential arrest if she returns to Ireland and a possible prison sentence and large fine under the Employment Act.

Adjudicator Spelman said she would communicate her decision on the summons in writing to both parties before the next set of hearings begins on 27 May.

In other news, Brendan Ogle announced this week that he will stand in as an independent candidate for Dublin in Ireland’s European Parliament elections in June.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

TSSA union staff strike to go ahead this week after reps accuse Eslamdoust of bad faith

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 28/04/2024 - 9:10am in

The first planned strike day by staff working for the TSSA union will go ahead on Tuesday after mediation talks turned to farce, with the staff’s GMB union reps accusing TSSA general secretary Maryam Eslamdoust of approaching the talks without good faith and of failing to engage with staff’s concerns.

Staff are striking over what they say is renewed abuse and bullying – Eslamdoust’s predecessor as general secretary was sacked after a huge scandal of bullying and sexual harassment by senior management, and workers say the situation, which Eslamdoust was supposed to fix, has deteriorated again. Now an update from the workers’ union reps updates them of the failure of the talks:

Eslamdoust, who was recommended to members by the union’s executive despite what appears to be a complete lack of relevant experience, wrote a bizarre article for the Guardian in which she accused the GMB union of attempting to bully her so it could take over the TSSA and distract from its own renewed sexual harassment scandal, and tried to blame others for her failure to take meaningful action to implement the Kennedy Report’s recommendations.

She then followed up her attack on the GMB by emailing all TSSA member branches with an astonishing assault branding the union’s workers as greedy and lazy, and treating the GMB union as if it, and not the unhappiness of TSSA staff, was the driver of the impending strike action for which more than 93% of staff voted last week.

Such is the anger among members at the situation that earlier this month the TSSA’s branch for members working in Network Rail in South London passed a unanimous motion of no confidence in Eslamdoust and the union’s president Melissa Heywood.

GMB reps among TSSA staff have accused Eslamdoust and her team of not informing them that they had approached ACAS, and of bypassing them to try to negotiate the dispute with GMB general secretary Gary Smith instead of engaging with workers and their representatives.

The workers’ first strikes will take place this week on Tuesday 30 April and then on 4 June, including pickets of TSSA offices.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

TSSA members in Network Rail London South vote no-confidence in Eslamdoust, Heywood

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 22/04/2024 - 8:15pm in

Motion and letter reveal deep dissatisfaction among members as branch says it will support union staff when they strike and accuses management of inflaming the problems and indulging in delusion

TSSA rail union members in south London have passed a motion of no confidence in the union’s general secretary Maryam Eslamdoust and its president Melissa Heywood over their conduct toward union staff and the GMB union that represents them at work.

The TSSA and Eslamdoust and her team have been in crisis since the Kennedy Report exposed widespread bullying and sexual harassment by senior union figures, leading to the sacking of former general secretary Manuel Cortes and Eslamdoust, who was supposedly going to clean up the union after the scandal. was rocked by fresh allegations of abuse and deep resentment against the new general secretary for the treatment of staff, particularly women.

Eslamdoust, who was recommended to members by the union’s executive despite what appears to be a complete lack of relevant experience, wrote a bizarre article for the Guardian in which she accused the GMB union of attempting to bully her so it could take over the TSSA and distract from its own renewed sexual harassment scandal, and tried to blame others for her failure to take meaningful action to implement the Kennedy Report’s recommendations.

Former TSSA Assistant General Secretary’s take on Eslamdoust’s actions

She then followed up her attack on the GMB by emailing all TSSA member branches with an astonishing assault branding the union’s workers as greedy and lazy, and treating the GMB union as if it, and not the unhappiness of TSSA staff, was the driver of the impending strike action for which more than 93% of staff voted last week.

Such is the anger among members at the situation that earlier this month the TSSA’s branch for members working in Network Rail in South London passed the following resolution:

That this branch has no confidence in the leadership of the General Secretary and President in the management of internal conflicts that exist in our union and have been created since the election of our General Secretary.

Our branch has more confidence in our TSSA staff who are currently in dispute. Should our TSSA staff who are represented by the GMB decide they have no option but take industrial action, our branch will support them in this action.

The branch then sent a letter to the TSSA executive:

Network Rail London South Branch

Notice of vote of no confidence in TSSA Leadership of our General Secretary and President for circulation to TSSA Executive Committee

At our branch meeting on Thursday 11 April, we invited our General Secretary and President to respond to concerns that our branch has regarding the internal conflicts within our union.

Melissa Heywood did attend this meeting despite her partner being in hospital and joined via phone from her car in the hospital car park. Our branch very much appreciated her attendance, and it would have been entirely justifiable to give apologies, and not attend in these circumstances. Our branch meeting later agreed to specifically thank Melissa for attending this challenging meeting and will make that clear with a separate message to her. Maryam had indicated she would be attending but did not attend, although it was noted that there may have been family commitments for this non-attendance.

We presented an outline of our concerns which included the following:

TSSA had been through the massive challenge of removing the previous senior management team, including our General Secretary following an investigation and report by QC Helena Kennedy. There was a remarkable and positive consensus across the union to achieve these goals.

We have gone through the election process for a new General Secretary with Maryam being successful in that election, being endorsed by the Executive Committee. At that point Maryam had the overwhelming support of our union employees and members, with the hope that we had every prospect of a positive leadership that would have learnt from our previous conflicts.

Within weeks internal conflicts started to emerge, including one EC member leaving as he found the environment to be intolerable. The derecognition of Women in Focus was illegitimate and unnecessary.

Disputes between TSSA staff and the senior management team soon emerged, with complaints about non-compliance with agreements, accusations and counter accusations of bullying, with TSSA staff now moving to a ballot for industrial action, referencing “a culture of bullying, harassment and victimisation.”

The communications from our General Secretary to the employees appear to have inflamed rather than attempted to resolve this conflict. The article in the Guardian, in which the dispute is claimed by Maryam to be a takeover attempt by the GMB, can have done nothing but harm to our union and the GMB, and appears to have no basis in reality.

Subsequently there was evidence that our President liked a social media post that called for the derecognition of the GMB, which represents our employees in TSSA. There now appears to an extension of this conflict with the Executive Committee apparently agreeing this week to the suspension of three TSSA members who have been critical of the leadership.

Whilst it is not for our branch to consider the detail of the staff complaints, we should however be able to expect that our leadership acts in the best interest of our union and does not bring our union into disrepute. Currently, there appears to be no path to resolve this.

Our President responded to some of these challenges and to many others made in the meeting. There was however no indication that the leadership recognised that they have a responsibility to resolve the many conflicts which appear to have been caused by the action of the General Secretary and the President.

Our branch therefore proceeded to debate and vote for the following:

That this branch has no confidence in the leadership of the General Secretary and President in the management of internal conflicts that exist in our union and have been created since the election of our General Secretary.

Our branch has more confidence in our TSSA staff who are currently in dispute. Should our TSSA staff who are represented by the GMB decide they have no option but take industrial action, our branch will support them in this action.

Invited to comment, a TSSA spokesperson said:

“The TSSA is committed to working with our staff to ensure that we have a union that is fit for purpose and fully focused on delivering for members. We have arranged talks with Acas on 24th April. However, so far, the GMB is refusing to take part. We hope the GMB leadership will reconsider its approach and join the talks.”

GMB reps among TSSA staff have accused Eslamdoust and her team of not informing them that they had approached ACAS, and of bypassing them to try to negotiate the dispute with GMB general secretary Gary Smith instead of engaging with workers and their representatives.

Other branches are expected to follow suit in the coming weeks. The workers’ first strikes will take place on 30 April and 4 June, including pickets of TSSA offices.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

Unite Brighton & South Coast passes no-confidence motion in ‘shameful’ Graham

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 22/04/2024 - 8:02am in

Betrayals on ‘anti-racism, Palestine, harassment and dignity at work cited by furious members

Unite SE6246 Brighton and South East Coast branch has passed a motion of no-confidence, with no votes against and only two abstentions, in the union’s general secretary Sharon Graham. The motion cites Graham’s actions on anti-racism, Palestine, harassment and dignity at work – and the branch members’ ‘dismay’ at them.

In full, the motion reads:

Emergency Motion – Sharon Graham’s Leadership of Unite

This branch views with dismay recent actions by Sharon Graham and instructs her to abide by union policy on anti-racism, Palestine, harassment and dignity at work. We note:

  1. The ongoing disability discrimination case brought by former senior officer in Ireland, Brendan Ogle, against Unite. It is estimated that legal fees alone will exceed £1m, money paid for out of members’ subscriptions.
  2. The collective grievance from the National Officers’ Group at the high handed behaviour of Graham. They allege that workers are being banned from their workplace and/or suspended for raising a grievance. They state that:

Threats of legal action for raising a grievance cannot be ignored or endorsed…. For any worker to exhibit the courage to voice their concerns about their opinions of inappropriate behaviour against them or others is a right not to be denied. If it is to be crushed or swept away simply because the employer is more powerful and we do nothing about such unfairness in the workplace then who are we standing up for?

  1. The banning from Unite premises of Jeremy Corbyn – The Big Lie about the weaponisation of ‘anti-Semitism’ in the Labour Party.
  2. A new feature-length documentary ‘ON RESISTANCE STREET’, has also been banned. It is an examination of the role which music has played historically in the fight against fascism and racism. The excuse for this is an Executive Committee decision in September 2023. According to Sarah Carpenter:

Unite should not use its premises or resources to show or promote any external films or other content that does not relate to our industrial agenda to support the pay, terms and conditions of our members and/or support existing Unite policies. In this context the Union should be especially careful to avoid appearing to endorse any material which causes unnecessary offence to members.

The reason that Corbyn – The Big Lie was banned was not to offend Zionists. It would appear that this film has been banned in order not to upset fascists or racists.

Historically the trade union movement has taken pride in political education. Industrial action went hand in hand with political action. Without the latter workers are left at the mercy of a capitalist system that has no hesitation in using the state to reduce their rights.

Graham’s tenure as Unite boss has also been marked by a string of other allegations, which have never been denied.

The refusal of Graham to mobilise against the genocide in Gaza or take part in the national demonstrations is shameful. We demand that Graham adhere to union policy on Palestine.

This Branch has no confidence in Sharon Graham and calls for her to resign or be removed.

Proposed         Tony Greenstein

Seconded        Sheila Hall

In an email to Unite’s acting regional secretary for the south-east, copied to the notifying him of the motion, branch secretary Tony Greenstein wrote:

I won’t say I have pleasure in attaching a resolution of no confidence in the General Secretary but nonetheless it is my duty…

…We wish this resolution to be placed before the Regional Executive and all other relevant committees in the region including the Area Activists group. We also want it discussed by the union executive.

Because of the seriousness in passing such a motion, I will add a few comments…

…The final straw for some of us was Graham banning the showing of an anti-fascist/anti-racist film on Unite premises and the explanation for this by the former Regional Secretary for the South-East, Sarah Carpenter that:

‘ the Union should be especially careful to avoid appearing to endorse any material which causes unnecessary offence to members.’

This can only be taken to mean that Sharon Graham doesn’t want to offend racists and fascists ‘unnecessarily’. Such a position runs counter to everything this union has hitherto stood for. Sharon Graham is an utter disgrace.

Jeremy Corbyn – The Big Lie was also banned because it might give offence – in this case to the Zionists who are now supporting the ongoing genocide in Gaza.

Graham has not only done nothing to oppose what Israel is doing in Gaza but she has actively tried to prevent others doing anything. She has ditched policy on Palestine undemocratically and unilaterally, with the compliance of a feeble and deferential Executive.

Her recent statement targeting anti-war groups and activists and giving explicit support for the production and transportation of weapons to Gaza that have so far killed 14,000 children, and thousands of women and civilians is unconscionable.

Any General Secretary worth their salt would be taking steps to ensure that no weapons whose destination was Israel were manufactured and failing that would call upon dockers and other transport workers not to handle them, as she did with Russian oil recently.

When I think of the support that General Secretaries of the T&GWU, which was one of the founders of Unite, gave to the peace movement and anti-racism – people like Frank Cousins and Ron Todd – then Sharon Graham’s behaviour is shameful.

Jack Jones, another former General Secretary, went to fight against the fascists in Spain in 1936. Sharon Graham has banned an anti-fascist film for fear of upsetting fascists. For such an action alone she deserves to go and the Union Executive should have the courage to face her down rather than accepting her dictats.

I won’t mention the other matters such as her behaviour towards the staff and Brendan Ogle.

Suffice to say that if Sharon Graham thinks that anti-racism and anti-fascism has nothing to do with her ‘industrial agenda’ then this demonstrates that she understands nothing about how racism is used to divide the working class.

Sharon Graham’s tenure as Unite boss has also been marked by a string of other allegations – which neither she nor the union has denied – including destruction of evidence against her husband in threat, misogyny and bullying complaints brought by union employees. She is embroiled in a defamation lawsuit and a discrimination tribunal case brought by Irish union legend Brendan Ogle for the union’s treatment of him and comments made about him by Graham and her close ally Tony Woodhouse.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

Victorious smear victim takes aim at ‘antisemitism’ lawyer who misled court

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 21/04/2024 - 11:15pm in

Zionist Mark Lewis panned by James Wilson in series of Twitter posts

Earlier this month, university lecturer James Wilson won substantial damages from two so-called ‘antisemitism campaigners’ who had foully smeared and endangered him and his family in their efforts to discredit him as an opponent of the ‘left antisemitism’ narrative that supporters of Israel have weaponised for almost a decade now against supporters of Palestinian human and political rights.

Now the victorious Wilson has taken aim in his social media feed at Zionist lawyer Mark Lewis, who at one time represented at least two of the defendants. Lewis, a pro-Israel activist who spoke about ‘unapologetic Zionism’ at the launch of a UK pro-Israel group considered by many to be far-right and boasted of wanting to make people whom he considered ‘antisemites’ homeless, has been lionised by the Zionist right for his pursuit of their opponents.

He has also been sanctioned by the Solicitors Regulation Authority for abusive conduct on social media – and wished a young Jewish supporter of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour dead – and was heavily criticised by a judge in a different case for his conduct of the case and his lack of proper research on behalf of his clients:

a matter of very real concern that the Claimants put evidence before the Court, on an ex parte application, that was not true…

…he had simply failed to carry out sufficient (or any) research or to take adequate instructions from his clients.

And, as James Wilson has pointed out – alongside much more – Lewis was forced to apologise to the court for providing misleading information in Wilson’s suit about the financial health of one (by the time of the hearing, apparently former) client, Edward Cantor who, he had claimed, did not own property that could be sold to pay any penalty levied by the court:

As Luke Turner, who responded to Wilson’s posts, pointed out, Lewis’s distaste for ‘antisemites’ did not prevent him representing two extreme right-wingers – described by the judge in the case as bullying and ‘whiffing’ of antisemitism – when they wanted to sue Turner for posts about them:

And in a pair of posts showing screenshots of communications from Lewis, Wilson – himself a now non-practising solicitor – showed that Lewis demanded thousands of pounds, from the victim of the smear, to settle Lewis’s case against them, while expressing his and his clients’ expectation of victory in the case and repeating that Cantor owned nothing that could be used to pay any penalty. The tactic and the refusal to accept Wilson’s settlement proposal racked up enormous legal costs for the failed defendants:

And Wilson concluded his posts – for now at least – by taking aim at Simon Myerson, a supporter of Israel and part-time judge recently sanctioned for abusive comments on social media. Myerson had shared a post calling Wilson the ‘scum of the earth’, which the judge in Wilson’s case described as:

abuse of the same dehumanising kind as was used of Jewish people by the Nazis in the 1930s.

The judge also rejected the defence’s claim that Wilson’s correspondence with Myerson about his sharing of the abusive post demonstrated any kind of aggression or unreasonableness on Wilson’s part.

As Jewish author Michael Rosen, who was also targeted by some of the same people, pointed out, perhaps with his tongue firmly lodged in his cheek, it is noteworthy that the UK ‘mainstream’ press – which will run for weeks with any allegation against a left-winger or supporter of Palestinians – has shown no interest in covering the outcome of the Wilson case or the abusive conduct of those on the losing, pro-Israel, side:

However, Skwawkbox has covered the case in full and a timeline of it can be found here.

The case is not the first conducted by Lewis against supporters of Palestinian rights that ended poorly for his clients. In 2020 Jane Heybroek, a human rights barrister, won a stunning victory when actress Tracy-Ann Oberman and TV presenter Rachel Riley dropped their libel claim against her over an article retweeted by Heybroek criticising their behaviour and contributed toward her legal costs defending the action.

Mark Lewis was asked for comment about Wilson’s comments and analysis but had not responded at the time of writing. He was also ‘tagged’ by Wilson at the start of his Twitter analysis about Lewis’s involvement in the case:

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

Exclusive: Eslamdoust’s bizarre email to TSSA branches attacking staff and their union

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 19/04/2024 - 11:45pm in

‘She doesn’t understand how unions work’ – general secretary of union reeling from abuse scandals sends bulk email to branches attacking staff striking over bullying, and the union representing them

Melissa Heywood, left, and Maryam Eslamdoust (image: TSSA website)

Crisis-hit TSSA rail union general secretary Maryam Eslamdoust and her team have followed up their attacks on the GMB union representing TSSA staff in their dispute with the union’s management over bullying and abuse – by emailing all TSSA member branches with an astonishing attack branding the union’s workers as greedy and lazy, and treating the GMB union as if it, and not the unhappiness of TSSA staff, is the driver of the impending strike action for which more than 93% of staff voted last week.

Ms Eslamdoust was recommended to members, despite what appears to be a complete lack of relevant experience, by the TSSA executive after former general secretary Manuel Cortes was sacked over sexual harassment and bullying exposed in the Kennedy Report, and was supposedly going to clean up the union after the scandal. However, the union has been rocked by fresh allegations of abuse and deep resentment against the new general secretary for the treatment of staff, particularly women.

She recently wrote a bizarre article for the Guardian in which she accused the GMB union of attempting to bully her so it could take over the TSSA and distract from its own renewed sexual harassment scandal, and tried to blame others for her failure to take meaningful action to implement the Kennedy Report’s recommendations, outraging staff members who have pointed out that their dispute pre-dates the new GMB revelations, prompting TSSA staff to pass a unanimous vote of no confidence in Eslamdoust and the union’s president, Melissa Heywood.

Now the pair, along with assistant general secretary Brian Brock, have sent this bizarre message to all the union’s members, via their branches:

Message from TSSA General Secretary

To: Branches

Dear colleagues,

Some of you will have heard that GMB intends to take industrial action against TSSA.

GMB’s dispute with TSSA

TSSA regrets GMB’s decision and wants to resolve the dispute. Thus far GMB have made it impossible to resolve any genuine issues that TSSA staff may have by refusing to set out any specific details of the matters they say are in dispute.

GMB have also refused or ignored every proposal we have made for talks. TSSA have proposed direct talks to resolve the dispute with GMB’s General Secretary, GMB’s Regional Secretary, GMB’s Regional Officials, and GMB’s lay reps among our own staff – all of which proposals have been refused or ignored. TSSA has therefore asked ACAS to facilitate talks, but again GMB have not yet responded to ACAS’ approach for talks.

Nevertheless, TSSA is a good employer, and we will continue to seek resolution with GMB in good faith, just as we have done in all our relations.

There are limits to how far we will go to satisfy demands made to us, and red lines that simply cannot be crossed.

We are seeking to reform and improve TSSA in the wake of failings in our past culture that were identified in the Kennedy and Conley reports.

An example of this is that TSSA proposed to the GMB representatives among our own staff that we would have independent observers in staff recruitment processes, so that everyone could have confidence in the fairness of those processes. Instead of accepting this measure, GMB demanded that there must be 2 GMB appointees involved in every TSSA recruitment process. We will not allow the process of cultural change to be misused to hand control of our staff recruitment to another organisation, removing the control of TSSA’s own democratically elected Executive Committee (EC) and General Secretary. We are completely clear that we will not allow our union to be bullied by anyone.

Many TSSA staff had 3 separate pay rises over the course of 2023, while many of our own members suffered from years of pay freezes. Instead of recognising that TSSA staff are being well paid, GMB have instead demanded that we must reduce staff working hours by more than 10% and increase pay significantly above inflation. Despite our desire to settle disputes with our staff, we will not allow members’ money to be misused for pay awards far in excess of anything that our members could ever expect.

Emphases added by Skwawkbox

Furious TSSA members have told Skwawkbox that Eslamdoust’s proposal to meet GMB general secretary Gary Smith to resolve the dispute shows a fundamental lack of understanding of how unions work and that the attack on workers as greedy and demanding mirrors the tactic of the bad employers that TSSA and other unions are supposed to fight, not copy.

A ‘frequently asked questions’ document issued by the striking workers and their union reps addresses Eslamdoust’s claims:

The General Secretary has claimed that the GMB union are using an in-house agreement to block staff recruitment. Is this true?

GMB members are not seeking to block the appointment of new staff. All we want is for our existing transparent procedures to be upheld, which is not happening. We would welcome recruitment to fill the 9 existing Organising vacancies, which could do much to increase our ability to recruit and organise in the workforce.

When the General Secretary emailed GMB Reps on 16 November 2023 to state that the TSSA Executive Committee had approved recruitment of three new vacancies (Campaigns and Media Role, Stakeholder and Engagement Role, Legal and Governance Role) on an interim basis of six months, we asked for job descriptions so that we could consult over the grading and pay for the roles. This is the same as we would do for any new job role and is in line with our established collective bargaining procedures. Further, it ensures that there is no potential for discrimination.

Five months later the General Secretary has yet to provide us with job descriptions. Had she come to us with the job descriptions at any point in the last five months we would have been happy to consult so that the roles could move forward to advertising. What we couldn’t do is sign off on roles without any information on their grading, pay or duties, or how these new roles fit in within a Staffing and Operational plan (which we have also never seen).

Existing roles do not need negotiation over grading and pay, so over the last six months the General Secretary could have recruited to fill a number of roles, including 9 Organiser vacancies, and roles in the Membership services, and Comms teams. She has not done so.

She has, however, advertised for a part time Political Officer, and appointed an interim HR Manager role (twice in three months, without following any agreed recruitment procedures). She has also appointed a part-time, temporary Assistant General Secretary, (changed from a full time to part time post without explanation) advertising that post in the week before the Christmas shut down with just a two-day window for staff to apply while half the staff were already on leave. Just this week TSSA has advertised for a new Assistant General Secretary.

It is simply not true to say that the GMB is blocking recruitment. We are just insisting that the creation of entirely new roles follows our existing transparent processes.

How about the General Secretary’s claims that the dispute has been fabricated as part of a takeover plot by the GMB, or to distract from other problems within the GMB?

These false allegations seem designed purely to distract from the very real problems at the heart of this dispute.

Our dispute existed last autumn, well before the latest allegations about the GMB came to light. Our General Secretary is well aware of this. We are disappointed that she has chosen to misrepresent our dispute and make false allegations to the Guardian rather than meet us at ACAS.

The accusations of bullying are well-founded, detailed, and were being investigated by the whistleblower service, Howlett Brown, until the EC and GS terminated their service without a replacement lined up. The President has been aware of the bullying allegations against Ms Eslamdoust, for months, but chose not to follow TSSA’s procedures for managing bullying grievances.

The GMB withdrew from merger talks with TSSA in April 2023 and has no desire to change the status of our current relationship.

The idea that the GMB is making staff manufacture a dispute in order to force a merger is insulting to our members who are experienced trade unionists and more than able to make their own decisions.

Why haven’t you met with the EC to discuss your concerns directly?

We have not received any invitation from the EC. We are open to meeting with them and would welcome the opportunity to explain our issues to them. If the EC requested a meeting with the GMB that has not been conveyed to us by the GS or AGS, this is a worrying reminder of the previous Cortes regime when the EC and staff were kept apart from each other.

Three GMB Reps sit on the Change Management Oversight Group, with two EC members and the GS. As part of this group, we have repeatedly expressed concerns that culture change had stalled in the last 6 months and has now in fact regressed.

In addition, since the publication of the Kennedy and Conley reports in February 2023 (14 months ago), the EC have never met with the whole staff once.

We have, however, met with delegates from the EC, including the President and Treasurer, in meetings trying to resolve this issue on several occasions. In addition, the president has been copied in on all the correspondence about issues we have sent to the GS since last December.

The General Secretary says that nothing has been raised through the agreed internal processes? Why not?

The GMB reps have raised collective concerns through the established bargaining machinery at meetings in November, January, and twice in March, and also in correspondence, since November 2023, to no avail.

Individuals have also raised concerns through the internal and external whistleblowing services. Two staff are currently off work sick with work-related stress, which is itself an indicator of problems in the workplace.

Claims that there is no bullying or harassment

The General Secretary is aware of complaints about bullying, and a culture of fear, within the TSSA. They have been raised repeatedly in formal negotiation meetings between November and March.

In addition, one member of staff submitted a complaint under TSSA’s bullying policy against the General Secretary to the independent investigator Howlett Brown in December last year. This was after a vindictive and targeted bullying campaign against this member for a period of months.

At the beginning of this year the contract with Howlett Brown was terminated without any consultation with the GMB reps or any consideration of the consequences to staff with active complaints and queries.

This decision has caused our member additional distress and anxiety seriously affecting their health and wellbeing without any clarity or certainty regarding the status of their complaint, who will be investigating it and when. During this time the General Secretary has gone out of her way to damage the professional reputation of the member, repeatedly criticising and denigrating them.

To date no alternative independent provider has been appointed which is in direct contravention of the Kennedy report.

Bullying of a trade union rep

One of our Trade union representatives has been subject to hostile behaviour and bullying by the General Secretary, since last November. This has included sending an intimidatory email to the rep, circulating that email to every member of the staff body, and repeatedly lying about him and denigrating him to other staff, in what appears to be an attempt to destroy his reputation.

Emphases added

Approached for comment yesterday, the TSSA doubled down on its blaming of the GMB, compounding the impression of a lack of understanding or recognition that the issues are with the unhappiness of people working for the union and not with the management of the union they are instructing to coordinate the strike on their behalf. A spokesperson told Skwawkbox:

We would encourage GMB to start talking with TSSA to focus on resolving the workplace issues they say they have. It is genuinely extraordinary that GMB are so blatantly seeking to interfere in (and misrepresent) the internal administration of a sister union. TSSA EC took the decision that the last tranche of HS2 compensation would be reserved for strategic objectives to grow and strengthen our union. That is what is happening.

Invited to amend its statement in light of how Skwawkbox would be forced to report it, the union declined.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

Exclusive: Eslamdoust continues to lash out as TSSA staff pass unanimous no-confidence vote

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 19/04/2024 - 1:34am in

Union general secretary keeps blaming GMB as union employees say she keeps exposing lack of understanding of union mechanics

A union in flames? TSSA staff appear to think so

Maryam Eslamdoust and the TSSA rail union she is running – into the ground in the eyes of many – continues to lash out at the GMB union for TSSA staff’s complete dissatisfaction with her management and her team – despite a unanimous motion of no-confidence passed at an ‘all-staff meeting’ last week.

Ms Eslamdoust was recommended to members, despite what appears to be a complete lack of relevant experience, by the TSSA executive after former general secretary Manuel Cortes was sacked over sexual harassment and bullying exposed in the Kennedy Report, and was supposedly going to clean up the union after the scandal. However, the union has been rocked by fresh allegations of abuse and deep resentment against the new general secretary for the treatment of staff, particularly women.

The staff, who are members of the GMB union – union employees are usually represented by a different union in case they need to enter a dispute with their employer – and recently voted overwhelmingly for strike action in response to the abuse they say they are experiencing, held the ‘all-staff meeting’ a week ago. The following motion was passed unanimously:

TSSA Staff Motion of No Confidence in the GS, AGS, and President

Following the recent all-staff meeting on Thursday 11 April, where the AGS announced that the Trainee Organiser’s contracts would not be extended without any prior notice to the Trainee Organisers themselves, the TSSA staff unreservedly condemn this as a further example of an unacceptable and grotesque management style that has no place in a respectful and civilised
workplace.

The further revelation by the AGS [assistant general secretary] that a significant sum of HS2 compensation monies has not yet been invested, losing us around £25,000 per month in interest at a conservative estimate, gives the TSSA staff considerable concern that the union is not being managed effectively to ensure its long-term survival as an independent trade union.

The TSSA staff reconfirms our commitment to the policy of remaining an independent union, and believes that with the right management, sufficient resources, meaningful progress on culture change, and an environment in which staff feel valued and respected, this remains a realistic prospect.

However, the many contradictions between stated objectives and the decisions being taken, whether in respect of resourcing priorities, progressing culture change, or managing the union’s finances, only leads us to conclude this is far from being the case.

The TSSA staff therefore instructs the GMB staff reps to convey the decision of this meeting that the staff have no confidence in the GS [general secretary], AGS, and President of the union.

The TSSA executive member for Scotland also resigned last week, saying he could no longer work with Eslamdoust or the executive supporting her.

Ms Eslamdoust attacked Skwawkbox during the general secretary election for scrutinising her and her supporters’ campaign claims that she had ‘high level trade union experience’. She also recently wrote a bizarre article for the Guardian in which she accused the GMB union of attempting to bully her so it could take over the TSSA and distract from its own renewed sexual harassment scandal, and tried to blame others for her failure to take meaningful action to implement the Kennedy Report’s recommendations, outraging staff members who have pointed out that their dispute pre-dates the new GMB revelations.

However, when asked for comment the union doubled down on its blaming of the GMB, compounding the impression of a lack of understanding or recognition that the issues are with the unhappiness of people working for the union and not with the management of the union they are instructing to coordinate the strike on their behalf. A spokesperson told Skwawkbox:

We would encourage GMB to start talking with TSSA to focus on resolving the workplace issues they say they have. It is genuinely extraordinary that GMB are so blatantly seeking to interfere in (and misrepresent) the internal administration of a sister union. TSSA EC took the decision that the last tranche of HS2 compensation would be reserved for strategic objectives to grow and strengthen our union. That is what is happening.

TSSA staff have said that their approaches to the union’s management have been ignored or rebuffed and that Eslamdoust and her team even opened talks with ACAS without bothering to inform them. The union’s latest comment will do little or nothing to change the publicly-expressed view of staff, reps and members, including a former TSSA assistant general secretary, that Ms Eslamdoust has ‘lost the plot’.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

Breaking: TSSA union staff set strike dates after 93% ‘yes’ ballot

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 18/04/2024 - 9:11pm in

Union turbulence continues as staff confirm dates for pickets over union management’s alleged bullying, avoidance and abandonment of agreed procedures

Staff members of the TSSA rail union who are represented by the GMB union have agreed strike dates, following their overwhelming vote for industrial action last week. On a huge turnout of 86%, 93.3% of staff voted yes to both strike action and ‘action short of a strike’ in their dispute over what they say is bullying and high-handed behaviour by the union’s general secretary Maryam Eslamdoust and her team. Strikes will take place 30 April and 4 June, including pickets of TSSA offices.

Eslamdoust was recommended to members, despite what appears to be a complete lack of relevant experience, by a TSSA executive reeling after former general secretary Manuel Cortes was sacked over sexual harassment and bullying exposed in the Kennedy Report. The union has seen fresh allegations of abuse and deep resentment against the new general secretary.

Ms Eslamdoust attacked Skwawkbox during the general secretary election for scrutinising her and her supporters’ campaign claims that she had ‘high level trade union experience’, an article that led to accusations of ‘losing the plot’. She also recently wrote a bizarre article for the Guardian in which she accused the GMB union of attempting to bully her so it could take over the TSSA and distract from its own renewed sexual harassment scandal, and tried to blame others for her failure to take meaningful action to implement the Kennedy Report’s recommendations, outraging staff members who have pointed out that their dispute pre-dates the new GMB revelations.

In an ‘FAQ’ document sent to all GMB members working for TSSA, the group explains the reasons for the strike and answer the union management’s attempts to blame workers for the dispute:

Why haven’t you met with the EC to discuss your concerns directly?

We have not received any invitation from the EC. We are open to meeting with them and would welcome the opportunity to explain our issues to them. If the EC requested a meeting with the GMB that has not been conveyed to us by the GS or AGS, this is a worrying reminder of the previous Cortes regime when the EC and staff were kept apart from each other.

Three GMB Reps sit on the Change Management Oversight Group, with two EC members and the GS. As part of this group, we have repeatedly expressed concerns that culture change had stalled in the last 6 months and has now in fact regressed.

In addition, since the publication of the Kennedy and Conley reports in February 2023 (14 months ago), the EC have never met with the whole staff once.

We have, however, met with delegates from the EC, including the President and Treasurer, in meetings trying to resolve this issue on several occasions. In addition, the president has been copied in on all the correspondence about issues we have sent to the GS since last December.

The General Secretary says that nothing has been raised through the agreed internal processes? Why not?

The GMB reps have raised collective concerns through the established bargaining machinery at meetings in November, January, and twice in March, and also in correspondence, since November 2023, to no avail.
Individuals have also raised concerns through the internal and external whistleblowing services. Two staff are currently off work sick with work-related stress, which is itself an indicator of problems in the workplace.

Claims that there is no bullying or harassment

The General Secretary is aware of complaints about bullying, and a culture of fear, within the TSSA. They have been raised repeatedly in formal negotiation meetings between November and March.

In addition, one member of staff submitted a complaint under TSSA’s bullying policy against the General Secretary to the independent investigator Howlett Brown in December last year. This was after a vindictive and targeted bullying campaign against this member for a period of months.

At the beginning of this year the contract with Howlett Brown was terminated without any consultation with the GMB reps or any consideration of the consequences to staff with active complaints and queries.

This decision has caused our member additional distress and anxiety seriously affecting their health and wellbeing without any clarity or certainty regarding the status of their complaint, who will be investigating it and when. During this time the General Secretary has gone out of her way to damage the professional reputation of the member, repeatedly criticising and denigrating them.

To date no alternative independent provider has been appointed which is in direct contravention of the Kennedy report.

Bullying of a trade union rep

One of our Trade union representatives has been subject to hostile behaviour and bullying by the General Secretary, since last November. This has included sending an intimidatory email to the rep, circulating that email to every member of the staff body, and repeatedly lying about him and denigrating him to other staff, in what appears to be an attempt to destroy his reputation.

In an additional note, the group adds:

Finally we have recently discovered via ACAS that TSSA have made contact but we only found this out yesterday when they contacted GMB.  There has been no communication from TSSA to any of the reps or our FTO to discuss with us or inform us that they were considering or even doing this.

More big TSSA news will follow this afternoon, after the expiry of a press deadline.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

Pages