• General Secretary Election candidate Roger Bannister lodges complaint with Trade Union Certification Officer.
  • Complaint follows leaked recording alleges rule breaking by senior union official with the knowledge of incumbent General Secretary Dave Prentis.
  • Unison could be forced to re-run the election if challenge upheld

Unison General Secretary election candidate Roger Bannister today lodged a formal complaint with the Trade Union Certification Officer. The complaint follows the leaking of a secret recording that alleges serious rule breaking by the London Regional Secretary Linda Perks*
In the recording Perks implicates General Secretary Dave Prentis by conveying her thanks to the meeting for their efforts in interfering with the election: “Dave is very pleased and has asked me relate this to you personally”

Roger Bannister, who has come second to Dave Prentis in the previous three elections, explained his decision to go to the Trade union certification officer:
“I have lodged the complaint because of serious electoral malpractice carried out by key members of Unison staff. Although an internal investigation has been launched it is not clear if it includes the General Secretary! Previous investigations by the right wing dominated NEC into the illegal witch hunt against four socialist activists has been kept under wraps. The wrong doing in Unison must be brought into the clear light of day.”

*The recording can be found here

Rogue Unison Regional Secretary breaking UNISON Rules in election-rigging scandal

The evidence presented here is extremely serious. They cast serious question marks over the integrity of the General Secretary elections.

I will certainly be pursuing this alongside my supporters and all those with concerns about this meeting.


Here is the link to a recording of a briefing for Regional Organisers at UNISON’s Greater London Regional Office which took place at Congress House in London. Those attending were paid UNISON staff, attending in the time for which they were paid by the Union (at 2pm on Wednesday 21 October). Every UNISON member in Greater London – and every trade unionist who cares about democracy in our movement – should listen to this recording (be warned – it lasts more than twenty minutes and is mostly a monologue).

The person who does most of the speaking is the Union’s Regional Secretary (staff say this is normal at such briefings…)  In clear contravention of the election procedures, which instruct staff that they should not in work time “carry out any activities intended or likely to … …affect the election or candidature of any person“, she gives detailed instructions to…

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‘We need a leader that will back their words with direct action’ Bowen from the West Midlands

Many thanks for the support brother.

West Mids campaign for Roger Bannister

‘We need a leader that will back their words with direct action’


Bowen, an activist in the West Midlands CVS branch explains why he is supporting Roger.

‘I support Roger because he stands for a proper fighting union. We need a leader that will back their words with direct action and won’t back down in the face of adversity. Roger is that leader.’

Bowen Whiteoak (Personal Capacity) UNISON Representative, West Midlands Community and Voluntary Sector branch

If you are a UNISON member and agree that our union needs a fighting strategy to beat the cuts and win victories for members, we urge you to vote for Roger Bannister. Ballot papers will be hitting doorsteps from 9 November and voting closes 4 December. Join the campaign on Facebook here or email

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A flexible Political Fund that works for members

Last week Andrew Berry accused me of misleading members by campaigning for more flexibility with UNISON’s Political Fund, on the basis that this would inevitably result in a break with Labour. This is no more misleading than it would be to accuse the three candidates supporting the status quo of misleading members because they are not explaining that the current arrangement helps Liz Kendal, and therefore backs Labour’s horrendous right wingers!

It must be borne in mind that the vast majority of UNISON members do not back the Affiliated Political Fund, by around two to one, and it is undemocratically maintained by the bureaucratic manoeuvre of not allowing it to be debated at Conference, or put to the members of the union in a ballot. Its basis of support in the union is therefore small, albeit disproportionately higher amongst activists. This fact seldom features in the rhetoric, or apparently the thinking, of APF supporters.

Clearly the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader is of great significance, both generally and to UNISON members. A left wing leader, generally committed to pro-public sector policies could not have been imagined a year ago. His campaign became a conduit for anti-austerity views that had little opportunity for expression in the General Election. North of the border it was the SNP that was able to channel this mood, opportunistically it is true, to Labour’s great cost.

But Corbyn owes as much if not more to forces outside the Labour Party for his victory, as the “£3 a Vote” strategy blew up in the faces of Labour’s right wing. The Labour Party as a whole has not moved to Corbyn’s political position. He faces hostility from the majority of MPs, yet astoundingly has come out in opposition to automatic reselection. Labour local government, dominating the Labour heartlands in the North and Midlands, is vicious in pursuing austerity policies, as thousands of UNISON members know only too well. During the course of this campaign events in South Lanarkshire, Hull and elsewhere provide graphic detail of this. In Warrington the only Councillor that voted for Corbyn was Kevin Bennet, forced out of Labout for opposing cuts!


Anti-cuts Councillor Kevin Bennett

Against these realities the demand for flexibility with the Political Fund remains important, the flexibility to back candidates who support UNISON policies, and our members, be they in or out of Labour. The alternative would mean backing a right wing Labour candidate, committed to making cuts, against Kevin Bennet in Warrington next year.

UNISON members are ultimately responsible for UNISON’s rules, not the Labour party’s, and our priority should be our members’ interests, not the Labour Party’s.

I am more than happy to be the only candidate in this election challenging the Political Fund status quo, and backing candidates that actually back UNISON.

Defend Manchester Mental Health Trust!

Grim news today from my home town of Manchester.
Manchester mental health trust is to be abolished as NHS services crash and burn in austerity Britain. Workers and service-users opposing this catastrophe have my full support.
The Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust is estimated to be in £6.1 million of debt by March next year. Management are proposing huge cuts to break even. The Unison branch have produced an excellent leaflet (see below) clearly explaining that mental health services are already at breaking point. The human cost of these cuts are heartbreaking and should fill readers with a determination to resist these cuts all the way.

The Manchester Community and Mental Health (MCMH) Unison branch have come out fighting against these cuts. There are a number of things we can do to get behind the brothers and sisters in the branch.

Send a postcard to MMHSCT—available UNISON MCMH, at events, on the website

Sign the online petition—link on branch website:

Check their Facebook page—

Write to your MP, councillor, M/c CCGs—check branch website for suggested letters

Attend the public meeting organised by MCMH branch, Saturday 7th November, 2pm-5pm Friends Meeting House, Mount Street, M2 5NS

Big business and the Tories are determined to end the NHS as a public service through a policy of death by a thousand cuts. Unfortunately our union leadership has not been equally determined to oppose them. This has been clear to me many times, such as when I pushed for action on the NEC to stop the privatisation of NHS Logistics.
I will continue to fight on the NEC for determined action to defend our members in the NHS and the services they provide. But leadership starts right at the top – and this is why I’m running for General Secretary.

Leaflet from the MCMH branch. Click on the image for the full leaflet

Leaflet from the MCMH branch. Click on the image for the full leaflet

Solidarity with Sandy Nicholl

I was shocked to hear this morning that Sandy Nicholl UNISON Branch Secretary at the School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS) had been suspended from his job.
Sandy is a well known in the Higher Education Service Group with a fine record of campaigning for his members and working alongside other HE unions and students.

This provocative move by management comes at a time when students are protesting against their bullying behaviour.

I would like to send my full support and solidarity to Sandy and those workers and students at SOAS who have walked out in his defence. As a member of the NEC and Industrial Action Committee I stand ready to offer any assistance needed.

Please send messages of support to and

Support Glasgow council unions call for a no-cuts budget

The Glasgow Evening Times carried a report this morning of a planned mass demonstration by the city’s council unions against planned council cuts.

The no-cuts stance comes from the initiative of Glasgow City Unison, a branch I am proud to have received the nomination from for the General Secretary elections. Branch Secretary Brian Smith explains the demands of the unions in the article.

Mr Smith, along with representatives from the four other unions, are fighting for a no-cuts budget and have said they would pledge support to any politician or party that would support the strategy.

He said: “Glasgow City Council politicians have a choice – make the Tory cuts or do not.

“We call on all elected politicians in the city to use all available financial mechanisms to hold-off any further cuts whilst leading a fight to win more money for the city.

“The council could use some of its reserves and borrowing powers, supported by the legal financial process of capitalisation, to fill the two year £103m hole expected in April 2016.

“This would allow time and space to build a mass campaign of elected councillors, trade unions, user groups and local communities with the objective of winning more money from the Holyrood and Westminster governments.

“The trade unions will support any council politician or council political grouping who adopts this strategy of no more cuts.

Read full article here

I fully support the protest of the brothers and sisters in Glasgow. It is heartening to see Unison playing the leading role in defending public services throughout the city.
A call for a no cuts budget is essential to this fight. Without it, the trade unions and anti-cuts campaigners are in danger of tacitly supporting cuts to one group of workers in order to preserve services for users or vice versa.

No Unison member should pay the price for the crimes of the bankers or politician. I am the only candidate in the General Secretary election who supports the call for councils to refuse to implement Tory cuts. I am the only candidate who say’s not a penny of our money should go to politicians who attack our members.

If the members were to elect me as General Secretary I would ensure that Glasgow City Unison’s stance on cuts became the policy of the union nationally.