Monday, 3 July 2017

#UNISONGATE: “Burgess & Ors” submit Appeal to Employment Appeal Tribunal

On 22 May 2017 the Assistant Certification Officer (ACO) issued a 114 page report in response to a number of complaints.

Whilst the ACO did not rule in our favour on all of our complaints she did uphold one complaint which is covered in paragraph 3 which stated:

“Pursuant to s.108B(2)(d) of the Act, I declare that the Union breached paragraph 51 of the General Secretary 2015 Election Procedures (“the Election Procedures) in that the Union’s funds, property and resources were impermissibly used to campaign for a particular candidate (Mr Dave Prentis) by reason of the following matters:”

Furthermore in Paragraph 258 the ACO states:

“In conclusion, the Union is responsible for all actions of its Regional Secretary that I have found were in breach of the Election Procedures and the Rules. The Regional Secretary was a very senior employee of Union with considerable authority and autonomy to organise meetings, and manage and direct her staff. She and her RMT engaged in deliberate breaches, as set out above. The nature of her job was to manage and direct her staff and she misused the position entrusted to her, which has injured the members of UNISON in that there has been unfairness in the General Secretary election as well as undermining the standing of the Union in the eyes of the public. There was a very close connection between her lawful activities and her improper campaigning activities by directing her staff to campaign in breach of Election Procedures. She was acting qua employee when she called the staff meeting and gave them campaigning directions in breach of the Rules. In consideration of all circumstance, it is right for her employer UNISON, to be held liable for the misuse of her position, since it was UNISON that selected and employed and managed, or purported to manage her.”

We can now confirm that Mr John Burgess, Ms Helen Davies, Mr Patrick Hunter, Ms Hannah O’Reilly, Ms Margaret Myland, Ms Claire Dixon, Mr Adam Tipple, Ms Elizabeth James, Mr Hugh Jordan, Mr Alan Wylie and Mr John Harris (“Burgess & Ors”) submitted an appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal.



1. You can find the full report of the ACO here

2. UNISON issued the following statement:
“Today the assistant certification officer (ACO) has announced the decision in the case of Burgess and Others; Rogers; Wakefield and Bannister v UNISON.
UNISON welcomes the decision of the ACO to uphold the result of the 2015 general secretary election and reject the call from the complainants for a rerun.”

3. Extracts from ACO report.

Paragraph 138
“In summary, the meeting was used by the Regional Secretary, openly during work time and with the support of her RMT to campaign for Mr Prentis’ re-election. She instructed her staff also to campaign for Mr Prentis in defiance of the election Procedures and directed them to report to their line manager within her RMT.

Paragraph 143
“It is clear that leaflets in support of Mr Prentis were to be covertly stored at the Greater London Regional office in breach of the Election Procedures. Ms Perks repeatedly tells her staff not to leave an email trail about using the Greater London Regional office as a distribution hub for the leaflets: “Karen will get word around the region that they are in her office even though she will not say what they are.” Ms Easton of the RMT then reiterates the message “Just a quick one on emailing that also includes you don’t email Karen to say you want more of those leaflets it’s any email and no emails at all on this. Don’t email branches you want to see.” A code term of the leaflets was set up of “special chocolate biscuits” to be used when more Vote Dave leaflets were being requested, presumably to avoid detection from breach Election Procedures.”

Paragraph 154:
“No matter how many times one re-reads the transcript the shock does not diminish. It is flagrant: Ms Perks’ tone is not just confident and swaggering in so openly breaking rules, but chilling in its brazenness and demonstration of unchecked power. I appreciate that many of the staff present were seasoned union officials, used to dealing with difficult situations and being assertive, but even so, it is deeply shocking.”

Paragraph 296:
“The failure to address the involvement of the whole of the London RMT which was explicit and apparent from the tape of the 21 October meeting is very troubling. The collusion of the Greater London RMT was deliberately ignored by the Union and no explanation for the failure to address it has been given.”

4. #Unisongate makes BBC Radio 4 Today Programme

6. “UNISON: Union democracy on trial.”

Unison election: Now Electoral Reform Services on trial

“Yesterday that image slipped when  deputy chief executive Simon Hearn was cross questioned about his role in supervising the  2015 election of   general secretary Dave Prentis to Britain’s biggest public sector union, Unison. The union paid ERS almost £1m of member’s money to safeguard fair play.”
Read on here

7. Unison election: Now Electoral Reform Services on trial
“Why hadn’t he followed up the breaches in the Greater London area – where he admitted the union tape had revealed there was a breach of the rules at a meeting to discuss how to promote Dave Prentis to see if there was ” systematic malpractice” elsewhere ? He said he hadn’t had enough complaints to do this.”
Read on here

7. Unison election: Now Electoral Reform Services on trial
“Probably the most damning point was following the inquiry by  Unison official Roger McKenzie into  the breach of union rules at the Greater London meeting which led to the suspension – now lifted – of one official, Linda Perks, when he had been told that more officials were involved.”
Read on here

8. Unison: A libel threat, a database and a “cut and paste” email – all to help Dave Prentis win?

9. Unison: Former senior official says “anti democratic practices” used to elect Dave Prentis in three previous contests.

10. Rerun Dave Prentis election urge candidates at Unison malpractice hearing
Posted on February 23, 2017 by davidhencke

11. Unison’s Special Chocolate Biscuits Scandal: An insight into murky behaviour at the top of Britain’s biggest public sector union
Posted on June 4, 2017 by davidhencke

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