Monday, November 20, 2006

Unison Witch Hunt

Active union member and campaigner Tony Staunton is being subjected to a viscious witch hunt by the Unison trade union. Secretary of Plymouth Local Government Branch and the Plymouth TUC, Tony has been a tireless campaigner against cuts, privatisation and the attack on our pensions.

The attack appears to be politically motivated and a cynical ploy against the left. The main allegation against Tony is that he used Unison resources outside of the rules in printing a United Left newsletter. Following a complaint to the General Secretary, Unison officials arrived at the Plymouth Local Govt Branch office, downloaded material, took away financial and other records and quizzed Branch Administrator and Treasurer (without representation). These heavy handed tactics were used when Tony was leading a delegation to the NHS Together lobby of parliament, which the union was well aware of. Further to this, Unison are currently seeking legal advice to force Tony to hand over 2 personal computers which hold private information concerning him and his family.

Tony is a member of the Socialist Workers Party and RESPECT, a politcal allegiance that he doesn't hide. He has just announced his intentions to stand in the Unison NEC elections. Coincidence? Not very likely - the allegations occured days before Tony's announcement. This is a bitter attack on left-wing trade unionism and we shouldn't take this lightly. The union's links with the Labour Party have to be questioned after what can only be described as a Stalinist witch hunt.

The strength of the trade union movement lies with lay rank and file activists like Tony. What we need is unity in order to fight back against cuts, closures, privatisation and attacks on our pensions. Unions attacking its own members can only serve to weaken collective strength and play into the hands of a neo-liberal government. We need to stand together in support of Tony and say no to sectarian, Stalinist attacks.

The General Secretary
1 Mabledon Place

The Regional Secretary

And a message of support to

Tony Staunton
21 Bayswater Road


Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a UNISON activist in the south-west myself, I have known Tony for a number of years and have only
admiration for his ceaseless campaigning and committment to the trade union movement and socialist

I am utterly appalled at the behaviour UNISON towards some of it's best and most committed activits. The
timing of Tony's suspension from the union, coinciding with his announcing his intention to stand for the
NEC elctions, in my view, overtly demonstrates that it has far more to do with attacking the left within
UNISON than it has to do with upholding of union regulations.

At a time when we are facing unprecedented attacks across all the public sector from the new labour
government, I find it staggering that our union chooses to use considerable resources on a whitch hunt
attacking the very people it depends on most, those who do the 'real' work of the union, those that
encourage members to fight, those inspire other activists and take the fight beyond the workplace to fight
for a fairer society and world.

6:10 PM  
Blogger working class hero said...

Sadly this is nothing new from UNISON. I myself am a UNISON activist and member of the United Left. It seems that National Office and the union bureaucrats are more afraid of the left than those we should be united in opposition to. If they put the same amount of energy into fighting for the NHS and our pensios as they do on attacking left wing activists we would have a positive national campaign.

Instead it's left to the rank and file members who are becoming increasingly frustrated by the inactivity and lack of national support.

Action like this divides and weakens the movement and plays into the hands of Hewitt and New Labour who must be rubbing their hands. Prentis et al should hang their heads in shame at action which underlines why the bureaucrats and the cosy relationship with New Labour is undermining working class solidarity.

7:05 PM  

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