Unison’s Shameful Betrayal of its members – it supports the right to dismiss a worker for attending a demonstration

Unison’s Shameful Betrayal of its members – it supports the right to dismiss a worker for attending a demonstration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why I face disciplinary action for criticising London Regional Organiser Steve Terry who scabbed on Stan Keable

Two
weeks ago I was called to an investigation hearing. A complaint had been made against
me regarding criticism I had made in various articles of UNISON’s London Region
Organiser, Steve Terry, a right-wing Labour Councillor in Walthamstow.  The articles are below:

No
criticism permitted

Stan
Keable, an employee of Hammersmith and Fulham Council and also Secretary of
Labour Against the Witch-hunt, attended a demonstration in London on March 26th
called by Jewish Voice for Labour.  It
was called in opposition to the Zionists’ ‘Enough is Enough’ demonstration outside
Parliament. It was part of the fake anti-Semitism campaign before the local
elections, whose target was Jeremy Corbyn.
Unison sells itself more as an insurance company than a trade union
The Zionist
demonstration was billed as an ‘anti-racist’ demonstration (the first one the Board
of Deputies has called in its history) but an anti-racist demonstration at
which Norman Tebbit and the Democratic Unionist Party are participants, to say
nothing of Uncle Tom Chuku Ummuna and Sajid David is unlikely to be about fighting
racism.
BBC ‘journalist’ David Grossman, with the ethics of a rattle snake
Stan got
into a discussion with a Zionist in the course of which he expressed the view
that the Zionist movement had collaborated with the Nazis.  The discussion was recorded by BBC Newsnight
editor and all round bigot, David Grossman. 
Placed on social media it caused the racist local Tory MP, Greg Hands to
demand that Stan be sacked. Thus we see how the false anti-Semitism campaign is
a threat to free speech and democratic rights, aided by yellow journalists such
as the BBC’s Grossman.
H&F
Council leader Steve Cowan promptly ensured that Stan was suspended and last
month I represented Stan at his disciplinary hearing the result of which was
that he was sacked.  I should not, of
course, have had to represent Stan as I am from Brighton and Hove UNISON not
Hammersmith but when Stan approached the London Regional Organiser, Steve Terry
for support he received none.
Terry’s
advice was that Stan should plead guilty and plead for forgiveness.  In a letter of May 8th Terry
advised Stan that:
‘the course that you should take is to indicate that you regret any
offence caused by your remarks and plead mitigating circumstances.’
A
supporter of Progress, Terry was completely unfit to make a decision in this
case. His own prejudices rendered him incapable of seeing that the main issue
was not whether or not Stan was correct in his views but an elementary one of the
right to free speech and free assembly, rights guaranteed under Articles 10 and
11 of the European Convention of Human Rights. The ECHR was drawn up and
approved by the European countries precisely because of the lack of rights of civilians
under Nazi occupation during the war. Terry however is a pen pushing bureaucrat,
incapable of comprehending such issues. 
For him, defence of Zionism was the only issue. 
Tony Jones – one of my two investigators
The two
main charges against Stan were:
1. That, in attending a counter
demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament on the 26th March 2018, you knowingly
increased the possibility of being challenged about your views and subsequently
proceeded to express views that were in breach of the Council’s Equality,
Diversity and Inclusion Policy and the Council’s Code of Conduct (‘Working with
integrity’ and ‘Working with the media’).
2. That you made inappropriate
comments which were subsequently circulated on social media which are deemed to
be insensitive and likely to be offensive and potentially in breach of the
Equality Act 2010 and/or the Council’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
Policy.
In
other words Stan should not have attended the demonstration in question because
he rendered himself susceptible to being challenged about his view!  Could you have a more pathetic attack on the
basic rights of any citizen?
Gail Adams, the second of my investigators, receiving a CBE from Prince William
To
anyone with a modicum of understanding of human rights issues, let alone employment
rights, these charges were a threat to all workers. Terry however was too dim to
understand that.
The
idea that by ‘causing offence’ Stan
was guilty of a disciplinary offence is outrageous. Where lies freedom of
speech? As Jodie
Ginsberg wrote in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shootings and
the murder of a Danish filmmaker by jihadists,
the right to free speech means nothing without
the right to offend.  If all you have the
right to do is to utter platitudes then free speech is meaningless.
Of
course Terry was unconcerned by issues such as free speech. This overpaid and useless
official considers that the members are accountable to him. It was therefore
not surprising that Terry, who is not used to criticism from members, made a
complaint via his superior, the London Regional Secretary against me.
The racist Zionist demonstration whose counterdemonstration Stan joined
On June 4th
I was called to an investigation hearing conducted by 2 more officials, Gail
Adams and Tony Jones from the southern region. Ms Adams is Head of Unison’s
Professional Services Unit and Tony Jones is Regional Manager for the
South-East and as Tony revealed during the course of the interview is himself a
Labour councillor in Reading!  Most of
the interview was conducted by Tony Jones, who was jovial and pleasant.  Gail Adams was mostly silent but her
hostility was evidenced by her body language and general demeanour.  Clearly the idea of criticising a fellow official
didn’t go down well.
You
can read the whole interview here
or you can listen to the tape of the interview here. Amongst the ‘highlights
of the interview was my statement, in a letter to the Head of UNISON’s Executive
Office, Beth Bickerstaffe, that the Inquiry could only be a ‘stitch-up.’ Tony
Jones was offended by this description so I had to point out that this was not
intended personally. Rather it was the fact that I was the person who was subject
to a complaint rather than Terry, for his refusal to defend a member under
attack and his incompetence in failing to have any grasp of basic employment or
human rights, to  say nothing of his
refusal to get a legal opinion.  On any
objective basis Terry should be suspended on charges of gross misconduct as a prelude
to his dismissal. But of course to Ms Bickerstaffe, daughter-in-law of former
UNISON General Secretary Rodney Bickerstaffe, it is me who is guilty of the ‘crime’
of criticising a full-time official.
What
my case demonstrates is the democratic deficit in UNISON.  Despite supporting Jeremy Corbyn in the
leadership elections in 2015 and 2016 (despite rumours that Dave Prentis would
withdraw his support) UNISON is not a left-wing union. In the past 8 years, at
a time of massive cuts in local government, it has abysmally failed to take any
action against those attacks on members’ jobs and conditions or pay. When there
was action a few years ago and strikes over pensions the union leadership did
their best to get the action called off by pretending that they had secured
concessions. Prentis is well-known for his lack of backbone.
Despite
the fact that UNISON has good policy on Palestine and supports BDS (albeit
doing very little to implement it) it has also supported the false ‘anti-Semitism’
campaign against supporters of Palestine. 
I spoke on the motion in 2007 and again 2008 at national conference when
policy on BDS was first proposed.  The
arguments of the Zionists were basically that those supporting BDS were
supporters of Hamas and anti-Semitic! Rodney Bickerstaffe, when he spoke at a
PSC AGM attacked the use of false accusations of anti-Semitism against
supporters of Palestine.  People are well
aware of how Zionists weaponise ‘anti-Semitism’ but today they remain silent.
That
is what the actions of Terry are about. 
He is a fulsome supporter of the idea that support for the Palestinians
is ‘anti-Semitic’ and in particular criticism of Zionism, the ideology of the
movement that dispossessed the Palestinians. That is why Stan has been
abandoned and that is why I am subject to a bogus ‘investigation’ that can only
conclude that I am guilty as charged, even though charges have yet to be laid.
Tony
Greenstein

 

 

 

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