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ROUND AND ABOUT SEPTEMBER 2000
ROUND AND ABOUT (1)
"Be there when history is made" ~ Alan Runswick
This week's been great. Just like old times. The night of the long knives has started amongst the Trots while LANNING takes a further step towards Lord Undy's Thousand Year Reich.
The September NEC was a cracker. UNDYS MEN (not forgetting Sarah Jones) started the ball rolling sweeping through a proposal to limit the field for the General Secretary Stakes to candidates with AT LEAST 50 Branch nominations. The intent was obvious. Not only does it rule out BARRY - he'd find it difficult to get even 10 - but it also rules out any other candidate except their own chosen son HUGH LANNING. Or so they calculate.
Of course even ME FIRST plus the dregs of UNITY would find it hard to scrape up more than 25 nominations on their own. UNDY's calculation, and undoubted secret deal, was based on LEFT UNITY following his script. This would easily guarantee the magical 50 - a threshold no "independent" could hope to achieve not to mention outside candidates who may be tempted by the adverts for the post put up recently now that the union has belated realised it has to under existing union legislation.
Back in the Trot camp, the hapless dupes were being mobilised for the Lunity conference on 9 September at the WALDORF HOTEL in Manchester. In the preliminaries, Socialist Party veteran TERRY ADAMS (Falconcrest Mendicant Old Boys Association - RCL) narrowly beat MAREK SERWOTKA (DSS Warsaw) by 73 votes to 66. But at the conference, an august assembly of under a hundred, the substantive motion was whether to stand a candidate at all or give "qualified" support to LANNING.
Socialist Party Top Man LEON BAUGH led the stitch-up with his usual rant against RAMSBLADDER and the motion narrowly won the day - by 44 votes to 39 despite the entrities of IR guru ALAN RUNSWICK. Departing Serwotka's fans - drawn from Socialist Caucus and the SWP - left after a hurried consultation vowing that whatever the vote "a socialist candidate will stand" and wondering what Undy's promised BAUGH, apart from BARRY'S head.
ME FIRST is now certain that only LANNING can now get the magic 50, set by his machine in the first place, which will mean that there won't be an election at all. HUGE will be the only candidate and take the job in a walk-over.
The Moderati are in disarray. THE GREAT SCOT left for a week of TUC junketing that same weekend assuring his diminishing band of followers (Messrs BOYLE, McCANN, SMITH & CURRIE) that his intervention in the Courts will stop all this nonsense once and for all, or at least until he retires in 2004. But they know now, if they didn't know before, that UNDY is no fool and nor is his own team of lawyers. And they also know that even in BARRY wins his injunction or whatever in court, ME1ST have a guaranteed majority (Them, the Trots plus Unity) on the NEC to simply sack him on a pretext before the poll takes place. That would certainly rule him ineligible to stand.
As for SERWOTKA, a member of a secret society known as the "Alliance for Workers' Liberty", he's got to pray that a combined effort of all those Trots who HATE the other Trots formerly known as Militant, can get sufficient nominations through the branches.
It's a golden opportunity to take a mighty swipe at their rivals, exposed as chancers and hypocrites in the TROT community, while reaching out to the wider audience (the 99 per cent of the rest of the membership) who may not want to see the start of one-party rule in 2001.
The start to the end of the Left in PCS? 2 LUnity members to be sacked from the NEC?
More leaked memos. We really must insist that the next GS is a qualified lawyer, it might help to keep the bills down ( I'm sure 50 branches could nominate just for this purpose.
Just when you thought you knew who was on the NEC, the jockeying for snouts in the NEC trough starts up again. This one challenges the NEC election results. If successful it would remove 2 Lunity members from the NEC. BiBi Danny Williamson.....
TO: NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Legal advice is being sought.
11 August 2000
Dear Mr Reamsbottom & Mr Sheldon,
Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 ("the Act")
The Certification Officer has received two complaints, that the PCS has breached the rules of the union relating to one or more matters mentioned in section 108 A(2) of the 1992 Act. The matter mentioned in section 1 OSA (2) is: (a) the appointment, election or dismissal from any office in the union. It is this section of the Act that the complainants, Mr J MacKay and Mr G Whitton, allege has been breached by the union. The Certification Officer is treating these complaints as applications, under section 108A (1) of the above Act.
You will be aware that the Certification Officer's powers have been extended and he is now able, under section 108A(l) to determine complaints put to him, that a trade union or one of its sections or branches, has broken, .or is threatening to break, its rules relating to the matters mentioned in subsection (2). These matters are: -
(a) the appointment, election or dismissal from any office in the union;
(b) disciplinary proceedings within the union;
(c) balloting of its members (except in the case of industrial action);
(d) the constitution or proceedings of its executive committee or certain other bodies (there are restrictions relating to the size of body concerned).
Under the commencement order extending the Certification Officer's jurisdiction, his powers to deal with certain breaches of union rules, as indicated above, are restricted to alleged breaches occurring after the 27 July 1999.
Under sub-section 108A(1) of the 1992 Act a member of the union who claims there has been a breach of the union's rules relating to any of the matters mentioned in sub-section (2) (as set out above) may apply to the Certification Officer for a declaration to that effect. If the Certification Officer makes a declaration he is also required, unless he considers that to do so would be inappropriate, to make an enforcement order (section 108B(3) of the Act).
I enclose copies of the correspondence with Mr MacKay and Mr Whitton. As you will see, Mr MacKay and Mr Whitton are alleging that the union has breached its rules in respect of the 2000 elections for the PCS' National Executive Committee. Their complaint is that they were displaced from taking seats on the National Executive Committee because of an incorrect application of supplementary rule 7.5. This interpretation of rule 7.5 was contrary to the interpretation of that rule in the 1998 National Executive Committee elections.
At this stage the Certification Officer is concerned with getting information from which he can gain an appreciation of the situation. In particular the Certification Officer would welcome the union's comments on the allegation that the complainants were displaced because other candidates from their employing departments were elected to the two Vice Presidential posts for Administrative and Allied grades in their category. The Certification Officer would also welcome the union's comments on the allegation that rule 7.5 was applied differently in the 1998 National Executive Committee elections. You are therefore requested to make any observations or argument that you wish to make on this complaint on the understanding that Mr MacKay and Mr Whitton will be entitled to see copies of any correspondence on the matter.
The Certification Officer is required by law to set a time limit for replies to all requests for information in connection with his enquiries into alleged breaches of union rules to which the Act applies. I would therefore request the union's response by Friday 8 September 2000.
Because of the Certification Officer's role in determining complaints made to him, it is not appropriate for the Certification Officer or his office to give advice or comment on a matter which might come before the Certification Officer as a complaint at a later date. However, should you wish to discuss any aspect of this letter or the legislation, I am available on the above direct line number.
A copy of this letter has been sent to Mr MacKay and Mr Whitton and I enclose a copy of my letter of today's date to them.
Dear Mr MacKay &Mr Whitton
Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (as amended)
Thank you for your letter of 1 August 2000 which has been considered by the Certification Officer.
The Certification Officer will be treating your letter as an application under section lOSA (1) of the· Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (as amended). That is a complaint that the rules of the PCS were breached in respect of a matter referred to in section 108A (2) (a), that matter being
(a) the appointment, election or dismissal from any office in the union;
As you will see, from, the enclosed copy of my letter of today's date to the union, the correspondence with this Office bas been copied to the PCS and its comments sought on your allegations. I will contact you again once the Certification Officer has seen and considered the union's response.
Should you wish to discuss any aspect of this letter, I am available on the above direct line number.
A copy of this letter has gone to the union for information.
ELECTIONS TO THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE PUBLIC AND COMMERCIAL SERVICES UNION 2000.
We were candidates in the election for the National Executive Committee of the PCS in May of this year, and although we each received a higher number of votes in the election than other candidates who were declared ejected, we were displaced from those seats, under an interpretation of the unions supplementary rule 7.5.
We have not raised the matter until now, because we have only recently seen the Scrutineers Report published in the July/August edition of the PCS Magazine.
We believe that the displacement was unreasonable on the following grounds:
We are writing to you under section 108A, sub section 2(a) of the Employment Relations Act 1999, and claim that there has been a breach of the unions rules in respect of the elections for the National Executive Committee of the PCS in respect of the the elections for the National Executive Committee of the PCS, in the result of the election that was declared on the 12th of May 2000.
The remedy we are seeking is an Enforcement Order under Section 108 (B)(3)(a), and Section 108(B)(4) of the 1999 Act, that we should immediately be declared as elected members of the PCS National Executive Committee.
Our colleague John McGowan is acting as our representative in this matter and we would be grateful if you would address any correspondence to him at 3 Cliffburn Gardens Broughty Ferry Dundee DD5 3NB.
A prescient reference to the Lunity Conference, or just appalling taste?
ROUND AND ABOUT (2)
Though news of UNDY's stitch-up is only barely filtering through to the membership there is mounting anger amongst the cognoscenti at the way ME FIRST are trying to rig the ballot in favour of their chosen son.
In the TROT community MARK SERWOTKA's allies in Socialist Caucus and the Socialist Wankers Party are furious at the hypocrisy of the ex-Militant "Socialist Party" bloc, who steamrollered a vote-Lanning resolution at the September LUNITY conference. Others speculate on what LEON BAUGH was offered by the Undymen to sell-out to ME FIRST.
Some suspect that NOSFERUNDY has promised BAUGH the senior vice-presidency, which he thinks is in his gift, when DONNELLAN goes in two years time. PETER has to step down under rule after serving two terms and Me First run-around SARAH JONES has been ear-marked for the job. That leaves her VP post vacant, and it's a small price for Trot nominations and juicy Trot votes for HUGE.
But Lord Flick may have miscalculated. He didn't bank on a maverick left-winger standing though he could have guessed that SERWOTKA would not stand aside. MAREK's hastily assembled camp of Assorted Trots believethey can get the magic 50 and they are equally determined to nobble some of BAUGH's stooges in branches where they have a presence. They also hope they will pick up some non-Trot votes at the poll from members disgusted at the cynical ploys of Me First, Unity and the "Socialist Party".
Now this is an interesting point. Though the Moderati still hope BARRY will pull the rabbit out of the hat, some of their leading lights are making it clear - at least in the dives around Falconcrest - that under no circumstances would they ever endorse LANNING. If the GREAT SCOT is barred from standing most of the Moderati lower-castes will probably abstain but some are arguing for a vote-Serwotka move to spike LANNING and punish UNDY. Afterall MAREK would just get four years and "we could work with him" if the worst came to the worst.
This is an incredible long shot and SERWOTKA knows it. He's actually got to hope BARRY does get his own 50 to split the dinosaur vote down the middle on caste lines while he tries to reach out beyond a now divided Trot constituency. Split it certainly is. ALAN RUNSWICK has been forced to recant and he's now trotting out the pro-Lanning line and defending the "magic 50" barrier - claiming it had been endorsed by Socialist Caucus in August. Caucus senior officer CHARLIE McDONALD thought it was a good idea - or so ALAN says.
Meanwhile back in the Moderati corner moves are at last being taken to counter Me First.
RAMSBLADDER's legal challenge goes ahead. This argues that under rule C19 there is no need for the ballot at all because it states that in the event of one joint GS retiring the other shall be appointed as sole GS. This would take the GREAT SCOT to at least 2002 and probably till his own retirement date in 2005.
But the case will not be heard until after the nominations close so RAMSBLADDER is mobilising to try and get his 50 in the bag - which would be a remarkable achievement for the Moderati these days. At the same time he's preparing another legal challenge to the "50 nominations" threshold.
He's on strong ground here. USDAW members successfully overturned an imposed "25 branches" threshold a few years ago and the labour laws governing elections state that no union member can be unreasonably be excluded from standing as a candidate. This applies to external candidates as well as internal nominees.
No full-time official on the gravy-train would risk their reputation or waste their time taking part in one of our elections but retired old gits like ALAN ENGLAND might. The sad old boy is believed to be thinking about it, God help us!
Talking about farces spare a thought for the poor starving people of Mozambique. They've lived through two decades of famine, floods and civil war but now they can sleep safely in their beds content at the thought that PETER LAMB is in Maputo advising the government on the reform of their civil service. LAMB is a well-known authority on African affairs and it will be a piece of cake dealing with the problems of this new member of the Commonwealth. Confidence in him is immense - when the news broke in YATES' last Friday the lads had a whip-round to send him to Sierra Leone.