Monday, 22 August 2016

An attempt to split the United Left

The United Left is the dominant faction within UNITE, including both General Secretary Len McCluskey and a majority of the union's Executive Council. It appears from the letter below that there is an attempt to split the United Left in Scotland, a move that would have significance across the union as a whole. Given that people are naturally reluctant to split such successful groupings, any such split is likely to be over an important issue, but the letter doesn't say what that is.

United Left Scotland members

It has been brought to the attention of the United Left Scotland committee that someone or a group have called a meeting for the 27th August at Renfield St Stephens Centre, Bath St., Glasgow, claiming to be United Left Scotland.

Please be aware that the group calling themselves United Left Scotland 2016 are bogus and do not represent the views of the one and only United Left Scotland and the Co-ordinator's Committee that was democratically elected at our AGM in June. We have alerted the chair of the national United left and, whilst there are no names attached to the United left Scotland 2016 email, we are attempting to identify the source and urge them to stop going ahead with this divisive approach.

Three members of our Co-ordinator's Committee attended a meeting of The National Co-ordinator's Committee on the 23rd July in Manchester where the ULS AGM was recognised and the decisions taken, endorsed, unequivocally.

This attempt to create a split using the United Left Scotland name is both outrageous and insulting, and one in which members, who wish to concentrate on our political and industrial priorities, for our union, in a unified and dignified manner, should ignore.

Meanwhile on a more positive note, the committee have met twice since the AGM and as agreed at the AGM have made progress in arranging a post EU event in partnership with a number of other like minded organisations. The flyer for this event will be circulated in next few days please hold date of 17th September.

We have also set up a United Left Scotland Facebook Group and encourage you to join this Facebook group. Insert link.

In solidarity

Jim Harte

Chair, United Left Scotland

Friday, 15 July 2016

Unite Policy Conference 2016 - Thursday's business

I've written a report for rs21 which covers the highlights of Thursday's business. It was a packed day, which included the momentous decision to back mandatory reselection for Labour MPs - something that would not have been supported a few weeks ago.

John McDonnell addressed conference, took questions and was enthusiastically received:

Below are the decisions I managed to note - I had to miss a few to take phone calls about my workplace.

Motion 83: Right to receive: Carried
Composite 20: Equalities Monitoring: Carried
Motion 82: Hidden disability and neurodiversity awareness: Carried
Motion 89: Equality Training: Carried
Motion 90 + Amendment: Assistance with Training and Support for new/existing Reps who have a Disability: Carried
Composite 33: Equipping Unite to Resist the Trade Union Act: Carried
Composite 34: Campaigning Against the Trade Union Act: Carried
Composite 35: E-balloting for Industrial Action and Executive Bodies: Carried
Composite 36: Redundancy Rights: Carried
Motion 170: Agency Workers Directive and 'Swedish Derogation': Carried

Conference watched a short film about blacklisting:

A fundraising appeal was circulated for a documentary about the blacklist.

Motion 171: Blacklisting and the next Labour Government: Carried
Motion 173 + Amendments: Casualisation of Employment: Carried
Motion 179: Zero Hours Contracts: [need to check]
Motion 180: Minimum Pay Rates for Working Anti-Social Hours: [need to check]
Motion 177: Corporate Governance: Remitted
Motion 178: Workers' representatives on company boards: Remitted
Composite 32: Regional Devolution: Carried
Motion 153: Regional Devolution: Carried
Motion 156: True Democracy for County Councils, City Councils and Borough Councils: Fell
Motion 159: Anti-fascism: Carried
[This motion committed Unite to ensure support is put in place to assist local groups to take direct action in opposing fascist demonstrations. The mover also referred to the need to support those jailed for anti-fascist activity]
Composite 41: Labour Party Leadership: Carried
Motion 161: Reselection of MPs: Carried
Motion 162: Constitutional Reform: Carried (Amendments were Withdrawn)
Motion 181: Defending Communities: Carried
Motion 182: The Need for a Commissioner for the Elderly in the UK: Carried
Motion 183: Cold Weather Deaths: Carried
Composite 37: Unite in Schools: Carried
Motion 187: HIV Support Services: Carried
Motion 188: Mobility Insurance: Carried
Motion 189: Statutory Youth Service: Carried
Emergency Motion 3: Don't cut our Rights - Save the Equality and Human Rights Commission: Carried
Composite 14: Public Transport as Part of Our Greener Cities Agenda: Carried
Composite 15: Balanced Energy Policy: Carried
Composite 16: Public ownership of utilities: Carried
Composite 17: Fracking: Carried
Composite 18: Action on Climate Change: Carried
Motion 190 + Amendment: Branch Secretaries Email Support: Carried
Composite 38: Towards a Sustainable Unite: Remitted
Motion 192: Outsourcing and Procurement: Carried
Motion 197: Executive Council Elections: Remitted
Motion 198: Reintroduction of Skilled Membership Card: Remitted
Motion 199: Disenfranchised Members: Carried
Motion 200: Route for Emergency Motions: Carried
Motion 147: Affiliate to National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN): Remitted
Emergency Motion 7: Solidarity with USW members at National Grid: Carried

During conference elections were held for the 5th policy conference Standing Orders Committee (SOC) and the following were elected:
  • EM: Steve Froggatt
  • I: Fraces Hourihane
  • LE: Marsha de Cordova
  • NEYH: Dave Allen
  • NW: Martin McMulkin
  • S: Linda Delgado
  • SE: Jan Bastable
  • SW: Agnes Hilditch
  • W: Julie Evans
  • WM: Barry Hartshorn
There were also elections for the Appeals Committee, with the following elected:
  • EM: Rob Siddons
  • I: Liam Gallagher 
  • LE: Jim Kelly, Susan Matthews
  • NEYH: Ian King, Angela Duncum
  • NW: Ian Bruce
  • S: Shirley Johnson
  • SE: Paul Millam
  • SW: And Worth
  • W: Phil Jones
  • WM: Dave Harrison

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Unite Policy Conference 2016 - Wednesday's business

I've already posted videos of Jeremy Corbyn's speech and Sharon Graham's presentation on the Unite Industrial Strategy - Work, Voice, Pay.

The liveliest debate of the day was around the aftermath of the EU referendum and what UNITE's position on freedom of movement should be. Conference agreed the EC statement which didn't take a clear position on freedom of movement, but called for a debate across the union on it. As a result the emergency motions defending freedom of movement fell. The passing of Composite 19 partially remedies this, but still leaves our policy unclear.

I've shared the conference agenda (the original motions) and a booklet with many of the composites. Further information on conference business can be found at

Composite 31 (Motions 148 + Amendment, 150, 151, 184): Pensions and Retirement: Carried
Motion 128: Sports Direct: Carried


 Composite 28 (Motions 129, 146): Collective Bargaining and National Agreements: Carried
Motion 130: Campaigning Against the Mythology of Redundancy: Carried
Motion 131: Organising Agency Workers: Carried
Motion 132: Decent Work Campaign: Carried
Motion 135: Management Techniques & Employee Participation: Carried
Composite 29 (Motions 136, 137): Challenge of the Digital Economy: Carried
Motion 141: Income Tax: Carried
Motion 142: Income Tax: Carried
Motion 144: Outsourcing: Remitted
Motion 145 + Amendment: BBC: Carried
Executive Statement 3: European Union: Carried
Emergency Motion 2: No to racism, yes to human rights: Fell
Emergency Motion 4: Brexit and the rise of racism: Remitted
Emergency Motion 6: EU Referendum: Fell
Motion 71: Women at Work: Carried
Motion 73: Ensuring Equal Pay Implementation: Carried
Motion 72: Childcare and Work: Carried
Motion 74: Childcare - Impact on Women's Activism: Carried
Motion 75: Stand up to Racism Campaign: Carried
Composite 19 (Motions 76, 77, 78): Immigration Act 2016: Carried
Motions 79 + Amendment: LGBT Rights: Carried
Motion 80: LGBT Survivor Pensions Equality: Carried
Motion 81: Trans Rights: Carried